Erie County issues health warning ahead of potential heat wave

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jun 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-27 18:43:12-04

Parts of Western New York could be looking at near 100 degree weather this weekend. Those unusually high temperatures can be "deadly", according to Erie County officials. They are warning the public to take extra precautions to stay safe in the hot weather.

You can see the latest forecast from the 7 First Alert Weather team here.

"We want people to take this seriously," County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. "This is a situation, depending on where you live, where you will be dealing with temperatures we are not used to here. We want people to understand that when you have temperatures this high, you can die from it."

“Anyone can become dehydrated," Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said. "Those most vulnerable are the elderly, people who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition. Excessive heat can lead to sunburn; heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

The Erie County Department of Health recommends the following tips:

  • Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, malls and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.

  • If you are outside, find shade. Wear sunglasses and a hat wide enough to protect your face.

  • Use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF30. Apply it generously at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply it every 2 hours—even on a cloudy day.

  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

  • Drink plenty of fluids (preferably water) to stay hydrated. This does not include alcohol which will further dehydrate you. Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water!

  • Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees. You could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort but do not reduce body temperature.

  • Avoid high-energy activities.

  • Check yourself, family members and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.

The department also wants people to be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Signs of heat exhaustion include feeling faint or dizzy, excessive sweating, cool, pale, clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid, weak pulse and muscle cramps. The best thing to do if someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion is to get him or her to a cooler, air conditioned place, have him or her drink water if they are conscious and let him or her take a cool shower or use cold compresses.

Signs of heat stroke include throbbing headache, no sweating, body temperature above 103 degrees, red, hot, dry skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid, strong pulse, may lose consciousness. If some is showing signs of heat stroke, you should call 911 and take immediate action to cool the person until help arrives.

For more information from Erie County about what to do in extreme heat, you can click here.

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