SCHENECTADY — The county announced in a statement Tuesday that it expects a heatwave to hit its eight municipalities Wednesday through Friday.
Eight public libraries in Schenectady, Scotia, Rotterdam and Delanson will serve as cooling stations, according to the statement. These places provided public bathrooms, public water fountains, and may have outlets to charge mobile phones for emergency calls. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, residents are asked to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines at the cooling stations.
Temperatures are predicted to top 90 degrees each day, according to the statement. Officials recommend drinking water even when one does not feel thirsty, checking in on each other — neighbors, friends and family at least twice a day, especially seniors, young children and those with special needs, and putting off those big projects. The legislature also wants to make sure everyone knows the signs of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, see more on those below.
“Extreme temperatures pose a public health risk, especially for people in urban areas, in low-income neighborhoods, and to those who lack access to green space or air conditioning,” Schenectady County Legislator Sara Mae Pratt said.
Pratt also pushed cooling stations as spots to avoid peak sun hours, which the county said are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here is a list of participating libraries in the area with locations and times:
Hon. Karen B. Johnson (Central) Library Branch
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday
99 Clinton St., Schenectady
Bornt Library Branch
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday
948 State St., Schenectady
Glenville Library Branch
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday
20 Glenridge Rd., Scotia
Mont Pleasant Library Branch
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday
1036 Crane St., Schenectady
Quaker Street Library Branch
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday
133 Bull St., Delanson
Rotterdam Library Branch
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday
1100 N. Westcott Rd., Rotterdam
Scotia Library Branch
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday
14 Mohawk Ave., Scotia
Woodlawn Library Branch
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday
2 Sanford St., Schenectady
Symptoms of heat-related illnesses:
Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms, usually in the leg or stomach muscles, resulting from heavy exertion during extreme heat. Heat cramps usually occur when the heat index is between 90 and 105 degrees. Although heat cramps are the least severs of all heat-related health problems, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble coping with the heat and should be treated immediately with rest and fluids. Stretching, gentle massaging of the spasms, or direct, firm pressure on cramps can reduce pain. Seek medical attention if pain is severe or nausea occurs.
Heat exhaustion occurs when body fluids are lost through heavy sweating due to vigorous exercise or working in a hot, humid place. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to vital organs to decrease. Symptoms include: sweating, pale and clammy skin, fatigue, headache, dizziness, shallow breaths, and a weak pulse.
Heat exhaustion should be treated with rest in a cool area, sipping water or electrolyte solutions, applying cool and wet cloths, elevating the feet 12 inches, and further medical treatment in severe cases. If not treated, the victim’s condition may escalate to heat stroke. If the victim does not respond to basic treatment, seek medical attention. Heat exhaustion usually occurs when the heat index is between 90 and 105 degrees.
Heat stroke – also called “sunstroke” – occurs when the victim’s temperature control system, which produces perspiration to cool the body, stops working. The skin is flushed, hot and dry, and body temperature may be elevated. In fact, body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. The victim may also be confused, develop seizures, breathe shallowly, and have a weak, rapid pulse.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness, and people exhibiting symptoms should seek emergency medical attention. Heat stroke can occur when the heat index surpasses 105 degrees, but usually occurs when the heat index is 130 degrees or higher.
Here are some other tips provided by the county to stay safe the next few days:
- When in the sun, wear a hat to protect your face and head and/or sunscreen (at least SPF 15).
- Use an air conditioner if you have one. Set the thermostat no higher than 78 degrees.
- If you do not have an air conditioner: Consider going to one of the designated cooling stations. If that is not possible, keep rooms well-ventilated with open windows and fans.
- Fans work best at night, when they can bring in cooler outside air.
- Many older New Yorkers live alone and could suffer unnecessarily in the heat because they are isolated from friends and family, especially during the current pandemic.
- Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar. People with heart, kidney or liver disease, or fluid restricted diets should check with their doctor before increasing fluid intake.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible.
- Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car during periods of intense summer heat.
- If you must engage in strenuous activity, and can choose when you do it, do it during the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4am and 7am.
- Cool showers or baths may be helpful, but avoid extreme temperature changes. Never take a shower immediately after becoming overheated – extreme temperature changes may make you ill, nauseated, or dizzy.