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July 2, 2010

County Executive Mangano & Health Commissioner Carney Offer Tips to Prevent Heat Related Illnesses

With high temperatures expected throughout the summer, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and Heath Commissioner Dr. Maria Torroella Carney remind residents that seniors, small children, people with chronic illnesses, those on certain medications or drugs and persons with weight and alcohol problems are particularly susceptible to heat reactions, especially during warm and humid weather. If you know anyone with one of these conditions, call or visit them during a heat wave, especially if they live alone.

Here are some heat wave safety tips that can help you prevent injury and illness:

Slow Down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.

Dress for summer. Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.

Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him/her how much you should drink while the weather is hot.

Do not drink alcoholic beverages.

Spend more time in air conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air-conditioned environment like a shopping mall affords some protection.

Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.

Symptoms of heat-related illnesses may include: headache, dizziness, fatigue, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low pulse rate, disorientation, unconsciousness or convulsion. Other symptoms may include cold, pale and clammy skin or hot, flushed dry skin.

If any person experiences heat stroke or exhaustion, get medical help immediately.