Staying Cool in the Heat; Those Most at Risk Encouraged to Take Necessary Precautions

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From the Office of the Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein

July 29, 2015

Contact: Mary C. St. Mary / Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: (716) 858-4941 / Mobile: (716)253-3925

                       Staying Cool in the Heat

Those Most at Risk Strongly Encouraged to Take Necessary Precautions

ERIE COUNTY, NY — As Erie County faces several days with both high temperatures and high humidity levels, Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein reminds residents how extremely high temperatures can affect your health.

Extreme Heat graphicOn average, 675 deaths from extreme heat events occur each year in the United States. 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.

“It is very easy to underestimate how seriously heat can affect people. It is important to remember during days of higher than normal temperatures to do your best to keep your body temperature cool. Stay in air conditioned spaces as much as possible, or find one if your home is not air conditioned. Do not rely on a fan to be your cooling device; take cool showers and baths as needed. Drink more water than usual and do not wait until you are thirsty to do so. Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks and remind others to do the same. Everyone should be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” said Dr. Burstein.

The signs are:

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms

What to Do

Heavy sweating

Move to a cooler location


Lie down & Loosen clothing

Skin cold, pale and clammy

Apply cool, wet cloths

Weak Pulse

Sip water

Fainting and Vomiting

Seek medical attention immediately if you have vomited and it continues



Heat Stroke

What to Do

High body temperature (above 103°F)

Call 911 immediately – this is a medical emergency

Hot, red, dry or moist skin

Move the person to a cooler environment

Rapid and strong pulse

Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or a bath

Possible unconsciousness

Do NOT give fluids

Burstein concluded: “Remember that the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions and the very young are especially susceptible to heat’s effects. Avoid direct sunlight when possible and drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids. Most importantly, check on family, friends and neighbors who fall into the most-at-risk category twice a day to ensure their continued wellbeing.”Beat the Heat graphic

For more information:         

Erie County Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

New York State Emergency Management