Avoid the Health Dangers of Extreme Heat

Avoid the Health Dangers of Extreme Heat
Posted on 08/06/2018
Montclair Health Department Urges Residents to Avoid the Health Dangers of Extreme Heat

With temperatures expected to soar the next few days, the Montclair Health Department (MHD) urges residents to take steps to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

When the weather turns extremely hot and humid, it’s vital to drink plenty of fluids, spend time in cool places and reduce or reschedule any physical activity. Please remember to check on elderly family members and neighbors to make sure they are safe.

To avoid health complications from excessive heat:

  • Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Make sure children and the elderly are drinking water and ensure that persons with mobility problems have adequate fluids in easy reach.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, spend time in air-conditioned places such as libraries, movies, malls or other public buildings during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Wear loose and light-colored clothing.
  • Wear a hat when outdoors.
  • Reduce physical activity or reschedule it for cooler times of the day.
  • Don't leave children, a frail elderly or disabled person, or pets in an enclosed car -- not even for a minute -- as temperatures can quickly climb to dangerous levels.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about any medicine or drugs you are taking. Certain medications -- such as tranquilizers and drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease -- can increase the risk of heat-related illness. 

People suffering heatstroke can go from appearing normal to extremely ill in a matter of minutes. Victims may have hot, dry skin, a high body temperature of 106 degrees or more, an absence of sweat, and a rapid and strong pulse. Victims may become delirious or unconscious. Persons suffering from heatstroke needimmediate medical attention.

Heat exhaustion is a milder illness that may take several days of high temperatures to develop. Victims may have pale, clammy skin and sweat profusely. They may feel tired, weak or dizzy and have headaches or sometimes cramps, but their body temperature will remain close to normal.

Keep your pets safe

Pets can suffer from heat related illness too! Never leave your pet in a parked car. Even in cooler temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures quickly. Leaving a window open is not enough – temperatures inside the car can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first ten minutes, even with a window cracked open.

Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. If it is too hot to hold the back of your hand on the pavement for five seconds, it is too hot for your pet’s feet. Bring lots of water on walks, and watch for signs of overheating – heavy panting, dry or pale gums, increased drooling and/or deep and rapid breathing. (If you see these signs, a veterinarian should be consulted.)

Bring your pet inside with you to cool off in the air conditioning and keep him hydrated.

For more information on preventing heat-related illness, please contact the Health Department at (973) 509-4970.