Extreme Heat Precautions

Onondaga County Commissioner of Health, Dr. Indu Gupta, is advising that individuals take precautions when the temperatures and humidity are high. A heat advisory is in effect for our area from 10am – 8pm today, with the heat index – which is how hot it really feels – expected to reach between 95 and 100 degrees. The high heat index, besides making people uncomfortable, also significantly worsens the air quality. Dr. Gupta explained, “During these extreme heat conditions, residents should take steps to stay cool. Seniors, small children, overweight individuals, those with chronic health problems, or those who take certain medications, are at an increased risk for heat-related illness.” Also, air pollution concentrations may become unhealthy for sensitive groups, like children and seniors, as well as those suffering from heart or lung diseases. The effects can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or outdoor exercise.

During this hot weather it is important for everyone to follow these safety tips:

  • Drink water regularly, even if you’re not feeling thirsty. Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Stay in an air conditioned indoor location. If your home is not air conditioned, visit public places such as senior centers, libraries, and malls. A listing is available at: www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/countycenters
  • Keep draperies and window shades closed.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully and pace yourself.
  • Dress in loose-fitting clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
  • Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid too much sun and use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF rating.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • NEVER leave children, disabled individuals or pets in cars.


The Health Department reminds individuals to take steps to prevent heat-related illness. Be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illness: headache, nausea, muscle cramping, weakness, dizziness, or difficulty breathing. In extreme cases, a person may develop hot dry skin (no sweating), confusion, or unconsciousness which may indicate heat stroke. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can result in death if not treated promptly. If you or someone you know is experiencing heat-related symptoms, contact your health care provider or 911 immediately.

For more information about heat-related illness prevention tips call the Onondaga County Health Department at (315) 435-3280 or visit www.ongov.net/health/heat.html or http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/faq.asp.