Modified: July 19, 2019 12:23pm
From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
CONTACT: Kara Kane, Public Information Officer
Phone: (716) 858-4941
ERIE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OFFERS PRECAUTIONS FOR EXTREME HEAT AND HIGH HUMIDITY
As Western New York faces a stretch of weather with high temperatures and high humidity levels, the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) shares steps residents can take to prevent extreme heat from affecting their health.
"When temperature and humidity combine to make it feel in the 90s and 100s, it causes conditions that can be dangerous for humans and pets," said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the main health concerns with hot weather, but by taking precautions these are preventable conditions.”
Dr. Burstein continued, “The people most vulnerable to extreme heat are people over 65 years of age, infants and children under 4 years old, people who have chronic illnesses 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.”
Cooling centers in Erie County include Buffalo & Erie County Public Library branches and the Central Library in downtown Buffalo. It is recommended to call before you go to verify their hours. “Spending time at shopping malls, grocery stores, movie theaters, community pools and a friend or neighbor with air conditioning are ways to take a break from oppressive heat and humidity,” Dr. Burstein explained. “We encourage people to limit their time outside during the hottest part of the day, and to watch for signs of heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”
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.
Heat stroke 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. Libraries in the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System are designated cooling centers. Call before you go for hours. Shopping malls, grocery stores, movie theaters, community centers, community pools, and friends or family members with air conditioning are also places to stay cool.
• 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.
List of Erie County Cooling Centers. Always call before you go to check their hours.
Call 2-1-1 from any phone for cooling centers near you.
- Alden Ewell Free Library, 13280 Broadway, Alden, 14004, 716-937-7082
- Angola Public Library, 34 N. Main St., Angola, 14006, 716-549-1271
- Anna Reinstein Memorial Library, 2580 Harlem Rd, Cheektowaga, 14225, 716-892-8089
- Audubon Branch, 350 John J. Audubon Pkwy., Amherst, 14228, 716-689-4922
- Aurora Town Library, 550 Main St., East Aurora, 14052, 716-652-4440
- Boston Free Library, 9475 Boston State Rd., Boston, 14025, 716-941-3516
- Central (downtown Buffalo), 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo, 14203, 716-858-8900
- City Of Tonawanda Public Library, 333 Main St Tonawanda, 14150, 716-693-5043
- Clarence Public Library, 3 Town Place, Clarence, 14031, 716-741-2650
- Clearfield Branch, 770 Hopkins Rd., Williamsville, 14221, 716-688-4955
- Concord Public Library, 18 Chapel St., Springville, 14141, 716-592-7742
- Crane Branch, 633 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, 14222, 716-883-6651
- Dudley Branch, 2010 South Park Ave., Buffalo, 14220, 716-823-1854
- East Clinton Branch, 1929 Clinton St., Buffalo, 14206, 716-823-5626
- Eden Library, 2901 East Church St., Eden, 14057, 716-992-4028
- Eggertsville-Snyder Branch, 4622 Main St., Snyder, 14226, 716-839-0700
- Elma Public Library, 1860 Bowen Rd., Elma, 14059, 716-652-2719
- Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library, 1324 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, 14208, 716-883-4418
- Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Rd., Grand Island, 14072, 716-773-7124
- Hamburg Public Library, 102 Buffalo St., Hamburg, 14075, 716-649-4415
- Isaias Gonzales-Soto Branch, 280 Porter Ave., Buffalo, 14201, 716-882-1537
- Julia Boyer Reinstein, 1030 Losson Rd., Cheektowaga, 14227, 716-668-4991
- Kenilworth Branch, 318 Montrose Ave., Buffalo, 14223, 716-834-7657
- Kenmore Branch, 160 Delaware Rd., Kenmore, 14217, 716-873-2842
- Lackawanna Public Library, 560 Ridge Rd., Lackawanna, 14218, 716-823-0630
- Lake Shore Public Library, S-4857 Lake Shore Rd., Hamburg, 14075, 716-627-3017
- Lancaster Library, 5466 Broadway, Lancaster, 14086, 716-683-1120
- Leroy R Coles Jr. Branch, 1187 East Delavan Ave., Buffalo, 14215, 716-896-4433
- Marilla Free Library, 11637 Bullis Rd., Marilla, 14102, 716-652-7449
- Newstead Public Library, 33 Main St. Akron, 14001, 716-542-2327
- North Collins Public Library, 2095 School St., North Collins, 14111, 716-337-3211
- North Park Branch, 975 Hertel Ave Buffalo, 14216, 716-875-3748
- Orchard Park Public Library, S-4570 South Buffalo St., Orchard Park, 14127, 716-662-9851
- Riverside Branch, 820 Tonawanda St., Buffalo, 14207, 716-875-0562
- Town of Collins Public Library, 2341 Main St., Collins, 14034, 716-532-5129
- West Seneca Public Library, 1300 Union Rd., West Seneca, 14224, 716-674-2928
- Williamsville Branch, 5571 Main St., Williamsville, 14221, 716-632-6176
Erie County, Extreme Heat and Summer Safety: http://www2.erie.gov/health/extreme-heat-summer-safety
New York State Cooling Centers: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/countycenters.htm
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