Forecasting hot, humid weather today that will feel like 106 degrees, the National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Warning. This is the sixth day of a long and dangerous heat wave that threatens our most vulnerable residents. Catholic Charities is teaming up with fellow social service agencies and New York City to help keep you cool.
PLEASE JOIN US BY WATCHING OUT FOR YOUR NEIGHBORS IN NEED:
- Check in on vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbors.
- Make a special effort to support seniors, young children, and people with special needs to get to a cool place or medical attention if they need it.
- Remember that free Cooling Centers are in and near your local neighborhood and there are many ways to stay safe during the heat.
- Sign up for Notify NYC to receive Office of Emergency Management (OEM) notifications (call 311 or go to www.nyc.gov/oem)
FIND A COOLING CENTER NEAR YOU:
- Call 311 or enter your address in the Cooling Center Finder on www.nyc.gov/oem.
- Be sure to call and confirm the center is open before traveling in the heat.
- Agencies providing Cooling Center facilities are:
- NYC Department for the Aging
- New York City Housing Authority
- NYC Department of Parks and Recreation Brooklyn Public Library
- New York Public Library
- Queens Library
- The Salvation Army
QUICK HEAT-BEATING TIPS:
- If possible, stay out of the sun.
- When in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head.
- Use an air conditioner if you have one. Set the thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.
- If you do not have an air conditioner, keep rooms well-ventilated with open windows and fans. Consider going to a public pool, air-conditioned store, mall, movie theater, or cooling center.
- Fans work best at night, when they can bring in cooler air from outside.
- Seniors and others who may be sensitive to extreme heat should contact friends, neighbors, or relatives at least twice a day during a heat wave.
- Drink fluids – particularly water – even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar. People with heart, kidney or liver disease, or on fluid restricted diets should check with their doctors 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.
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you must engage in strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- 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.
WORRIED THAT YOU MAY BE SUFFERING FROM HEAT RELATED ILLNESS?
Seek help if you feel these symptoms:
- Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms, usually in the leg or stomach muscles, resulting from heavy exertion during extreme heat.
Although heat cramps are the least severe 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 its symptoms should seek emergency medical attention.
- Hot summer weather can increase ozone levels.
Ozone, a major component of smog, is created in the presence of sunlight by reactions of chemicals found in gasoline vapors and emissions from cars and industrial smoke stacks.
WHAT ABOUT AIR QUALITY?
When ozone levels in the unhealthy range are expected, New Yorkers are advised to limit vigorous outdoor physical activity during the afternoon and early evening hours when ozone levels are at their highest.
If you have asthma or other respiratory problems, stay in an area where it is cool and the air is filtered or air-conditioned. Outdoor exercise should be scheduled for the morning hours whenever possible.
Children are generally more at risk to the effects of ozone, especially in the summer as children tend to spend more time outdoors.
People who exercise moderately (such as jogging) are also at risk, because breathing rate increases with exercise and the amount of ozone delivered into the lung per minute increases.
Additionally, ozone can have a dramatic effect on people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or those sensitive to ozone.
Symptoms associated with unhealthy levels of ozone include:
- Chest pain
- Coughing & wheezing
- Lung & nasal congestion
- Labored breathing
- Eye & nose irritation
- Faster breathing
- Sore throat
High ozone levels can also decrease lung function, increase susceptibility to respiratory infection, and aggravate asthma and other chronic lung diseases. Schedule outdoor exercise and children’s outdoor activities for the morning hours. Individuals who experience respiratory symptoms or chest pain should consult their doctors.
To help reduce ozone levels:
- Avoid driving, especially on hot summer days. Use mass transit, walk, or carpool instead.
- Be careful not to spill gasoline and fill your gas tank during the cooler evening hours.
- Keep your car properly tuned and maintained.
- Seal containers of household cleaners, solvents, and chemicals to prevent evaporation of chemicals that can contribute to ozone formation.
NEED MORE INFORMATION about heat safety and how you can prepare for emergencies?
Call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/oem