Heat-related illness a concern during scorching weather: Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries available as cooling centers
ERIE COUNTY, NY – This week’s expected run of extremely high temperatures and high humidity levels is prompting this warning from the Erie County Department of Health: stay cool, stay hydrated, and avoid heat-related health conditions during this scorching weather.
Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the main health conditions to be aware of during hot weather, and each is preventable. The people most vulnerable to extreme heat and humidity are people over the age of 65, infants and children under the age of 4, people who have chronic medical conditions or who take certain medications, and people who are obese. Check on family and neighbors a few times a day to make sure they are staying hydrated with water and that they have a way to stay cool with air conditioning.
Pandemic-related disruptions have made traditional sites to stay out of the heat – shopping malls, movie theaters, community centers – unavailable.
Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries are open and available as cooling centers. Please call ahead as some hours of operation have changed. Visit www.buffalolib.org and click “Locations & Hours” for a complete listing of what is open today. Individuals entering the libraries must wear masks while inside and maintain social distancing.
Call 2-1-1 from any phone for cooling centers near you.
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:
– 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.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical condition and requires immediate professional attention. Symptoms include:
– 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.
Stay Safe in Extreme Heat
• 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 heatstroke 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 airflow 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.
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library: https://www.buffalolib.org/locations-and-hours
CDC’s Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html
National Weather Service Heat Safety Tips & Resources: https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat
Ready.gov, Extreme Heat: http://www.ready.gov/heat