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How health officials say you can stay safe during this week's heat wave

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Posted at 1:58 AM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 01:58:34-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County Department of Health is issuing tips on how you can stay safe during this week's stretch of hot weather.

While the coronavirus pandemic has made traditional sites to stay out of the heat like shopping malls, movie theaters, and community centers unavailable, there are still resources you and your family can use to stay cool.

Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries are open and available as cooling centers.

You can click here to find a list of hours and locations.

You can also call 2-1-1 to find the closest cooling center to you.

The Erie County Department of Health says anyone can be affected by a heat-related illness, which can happen when the body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself through sweating.

Symptoms include the following

  • Feeling faint, dizzy or nauseous
  • Excessive sweating and cool, clammy skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fast and weak pulse
  • If heat exhaustion is suspected, move the person to a cooler place, apply cold compresses, have the person sip water, and call for medical attention if symptoms get worse or last more than one hour

The Erie County Department of Health warns about heat stroke being a life-threatening medical condition that requires immediate professional attention.

Symptoms include the following

  • Throbbing headache
  • No sweating, and dry skin that is hot to the touch
  • Fast and strong pulse
  • Possible loss of consciousness
  • If a heat stroke is suspected, call 9-1-1 and attempt to cool the person by moving to a cooler place and applying cold compresses; do not give the person anything to drink

Here are some additional tips on how to stay safe during this heat wave

  • Drink water. Stay hydrated with water and avoid pop, sugary juices and alcohol. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink.
  • Find places with air conditioning. The Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries are open and available. Social distancing guidelines are in place and individuals over age 2 are required to wear a cloth face covering or mask.
  • Limit time outside. Heat and UV rays are strongest from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Plan any outdoor activities in the early morning or later in the evening.
  • Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen of at least SPF 30, and reapply at least every two hours. Wear hats and sunglasses when in direct sunlight.
  • Wear loose and lightweight clothing. Sweating helps to cool your body.
  • Do not leave children or pets in closed cars. That puts them at risk for heat stroke and death. Look before you lock your car.
  • Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees. This can increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort but do not reduce body temperature.
  • Watch for signs of heat-related illness in family members, friends and neighbors.
  • Limit your time outside during the hottest part of the day, and watch for signs of heat-related illnesses in yourself and those around you.