With temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees every day this week, the Westchester County Health Department has issued a heat advisory.
“Heat stroke and dehydration can take you by surprise,” said Dr. Cheryl Archbald, Westchester County acting commissioner of health. “The elderly, young children and those with high blood pressure, heart disease, or lung conditions need to be especially careful to avoid heat-related illnesses.”
Here are some tips the health department offers to keep your bodies healthy and (relatively) cool.
- Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.
- Do not drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar - these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
- Stay indoors, ideally, in an air-conditioned place. If your house or apartment isn't air-conditioned, try spending a few hours at the shopping mall, public library or even the grocery store. A few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
- Take a cool shower or bath and reduce or eliminate strenuous activities during the hottest time of day.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.
- NEVER leave anyone—a person or animal—in a closed, parked vehicle. This is life threatening (and illegal).
- Neighbors should check on elderly residents to make sure they are safe.
- Bring pets inside and be sure to provide them with plenty of water.
In addition to the adverse effects of the heat itself, health department officials said elevated temperatures and humidity can lead to unhealthy ozone levels. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation forecasts daily ozone conditions on its website, here
Significant exposure to ozone in the air has been linked with symptoms such as: nose and throat irritation, respiratory problems, and decreases in lung function.
When ozone levels are elevated, the Westchester County Department of Health recommends limiting strenuous physical activity outdoors to reduce the risk of adverse effects.