With scorching temperatures in Central New York, health officials say everyone should start taking precautions to beat the heat. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding drinks with caffeine or alcohol, taking breaks, and wearing light colored clothes can help residents avoid becoming sick. Residents should first recognize the signs of staying outside in the heat too long, Onondaga Health Department Spokesperson Melanie Droder warns.
"Heat exhaustion can include headache, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramping, people may feel faint or light headed. Those are early symptoms of earlier heat related illness," said Droder. "And that’s when you wanna' get people into cooler area. Either in the shade, preferably into air conditioning."
Spending time in the water offers another way to cool the body, Droder advises. She recommends Oneida Shores and Jamesville beach, which both have extended hours until 8 p.m. this week to help people do just that.
The elderly, small children, people with weight or alcohol problems and those who take certain medications have a greater vulnerability to heat reactions, the county's health department states.
Click here to view the state's advice on staying cool this summer.
Onondaga County Health Department's Web Site lists the following heat-related illnesses:
Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms caused by heavy exertion. Loss of water and salt from sweating causes cramping.
Signals of heat cramps are abdominal and leg muscle pain.
Relief can be firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massages to relieve cramping.
This condition is less dangerous than heat stroke. It usually occurs when people exercise too heavily or work in warm, humid places where body fluids are lost.
Signals include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness and exhaustion.
If symptoms occur, get the victim out of sun, and apply cool, wet cloths.
Also known as sunstroke-can be life threatening. Body temperature can rise and cause brain damage; death may result if not cooled quickly.
Symptoms include hot, red, and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse, and shallow breathing.
Relief for lowing body temperature can be with a cold bath or sponge.
Symptoms include redness and pain; in severe cases, swelling of skin, blisters, fever and headaches can occur. Sunburn hampers heat dissipation..
Ointments can be a relief for pain in mild cases.
A physician should see serious cases.
* Safety Tips created by New York State Emergency Management Office