Health Day - ONLINE EDITION

Experts Urge Caution As Heat, Humidity Blanket Much of U.S.

Moist air means 90-degree weather will feel much more oppressive

  • Print

TUESDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- High humidity and temperatures in the 90s could test the endurance of millions of Americans in the eastern and central parts of the country for days to come, experts warn.

The U.S. National Weather Service said thermometers will stay in the 90s for the next few days in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. However, the service's heat indices -- which factor in humidity to calculate how hot the weather feels -- will push past 100 degrees, CNN reported.

The sticky heat is expected to extend westward as the week proceeds, covering much of the central and eastern United States.

Health experts said there are key steps everyone can take to minimize their risk from extreme heat.

One essential step: Check up on elderly or ill relatives living on their own.

"Due to various reasons, the elderly are prone to suffer from the extreme heat," said Dr. Salvatore Pardo, associate chairman of the emergency department at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

"It is vital for loved ones and friendly neighbors to enter the home and make sure they have functioning air conditioning or access to a cool environment -- for example, a cooling center, senior center, public shopping mall -- during extreme heat events," he said. "This should be done at the beginning, during and after the extreme heat event."

Dr. Michael Ammazzalorso, chief medical officer at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., offered up other potentially lifesaving tips.

Keeping the shades drawn in the daytime can keep homes cooler, he said, and "if you live in a split-level home, stay downstairs. Heat rises, so upstairs will always be hotter than your living room. Open windows upstairs if you have no air conditioning to keep the room cool, and have a fan blowing."

Alcoholic beverages dehydrate, so stick to water or beverages without alcohol, sugar or caffeine, Ammazzalorso said. Wear light, light-colored and loose clothing to stay cooler.

"Let the children play outside in the early morning or early evening when the air quality is at a healthier level and the temperatures are cooler," he added. "Head to a local swimming pool or beach to cool off, but never swim alone and be sure to observe all posted swimming advisories."

According to Ammazzalorso, signs of heat exhaustion include skin that is cool, moist and pale but may look flushed at times. Dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, fatigue and headaches are also potential signs of heat exhaustion.

Signs of an even more serious condition known as heat stroke include red, hot and dry skin, high body temperatures (105 degrees or above), a rapid and weak pulse, rapid and shallow breathing and changes in consciousness. In these cases, 911 should be dialed immediately, Ammazzalorso said.

Extra precautions also need to be taken to keep your pets safe in the heat. The Humane Society of the United States recommends the following:

  • Never leave your pets in a parked car, not even for a minute and not even if the car is running and the air conditioning is working. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, call the nearest animal shelter or police.
  • Watch the humidity, because dogs have to pant to cool down, which they can't do in high humidity.
  • Limit exercise on hot days, focusing on early morning and evening hours. Asphalt also gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws, so walk your dog on the grass when you can.
  • Give your pets shade and water if they are outside. In heat waves, add ice to your pet's water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don't obstruct air flow.

More information

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has more about extreme heat.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Red River flooding north of Selkik at McIvor Lane

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings jostle for position to take a drink from a puddle in Brookside Cemetery Thursday morning- Day 23– June 14, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Goose sits in high grass near Marion Friday afternoon for cover -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 18 - May 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support a proposed ban on tanning beds for youth under 18?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google