Heat Wave to Continue in Putnam; Protect Yourself, Check on Seniors

Carmel, N.Y. – The long-range weather forecast shows that Putnam County will be subject to high temperatures and humidity levels through next week. County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Dr. Allen Beals, Commissioner of Health and Anthony Sutton, Commissioner of Emergency Services, are asking residents to take the proper precautions to protect themselves and to check on the elderly and those with special needs.

“It is summertime and while we want everyone to enjoy the various outdoor activities that we are blessed to have in Putnam County, we also want everyone to be smart and stay safe through the heat wave,” said Odell. “It is common sense, if you are uncomfortable, do something to make yourself more comfortable.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends those who work outdoors to take frequent rest breaks and drink plenty of water. When possible, avoid working during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening hours.

“I would urge all those who will be outside to drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine and alcohol, wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing and to stay out of the sun as much as possible,” said Odell. “I would also ask you to check on your family members or neighbors, who are elderly or have special needs, for the next few days as high heat and humidity can be especially hard on them. In case of any heat related emergency, dial 9-1-1.”

Heat related illnesses occur when the body is unable to cool itself. Heat or sun stroke can be deadly. Symptoms include hot, dry, red skin, rapid pulse, high body temperature, loss of alertness, confusion, loss of consciousness and rapid, shallow breathing. In case of this emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately and cool the person off as quickly as possible by placing ice packs in cloth on neck, wrists, ankles and armpits or wrapping them in cool, wet sheets.

“Heat or sun stroke is the most dangerous type of heat-related illness and causes several hundred deaths in the United States each year. Heat stroke occurs when a person’s body temperature goes over 105 degrees Fahrenheit. If you think someone has heat stroke, call 9-1-1,” said Dr. Beals. “A person may not have heat or sun stroke, but can experience heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Heat exhaustion symptoms include cold, pale, clammy skin, fainting and vomiting. Move the person to an area out of the direct sunlight and put a washcloth or towel with cool water on the back of their neck or forehead. Give them water every 15 minutes for one hour.”

Heat cramps are painful spasms in the legs and abdomen. To relieve heat cramps, apply pressure on the cramping muscles or gently massage them. As in the case of heat exhaustion, give the person sips of water every 15 minutes for one hour.

“Summertime heat can be dangerous for anyone,” said Sutton. “Remember, NEVER leave children, pets and older adults in a parked car. Temperatures in a car can become dangerously high in just a matter of minutes.”

He recommended for residents to go someplace air conditioned if possible or to take a shower to cool off.

“Take heart, this heat wave will end soon and in just 4-to-6 months of time we’ll be complaining about the cold,” said Sutton.”

Check the Putnam County Health Department website for more information about heat related illnesses at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/. Click on Health Topics A-Z, then scroll down to HEAT for more information on heat related health concerns from the New York State Department of Health.

At this time, there are no plans to activate any town or county operated cooling centers. However, local recreation centers, libraries and places of worship are available locations where residents may cool off. Senior citizens or their family members who may need help may also call the Putnam County Office for Senior Resources at (845) 808-1700 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.