State Health Officials Urge Residents to Take Precautions as Temperatures Continue to Climb
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is cautioning residents to stay cool as the heat wave persists in the Commonwealth. By taking some simple precautions, residents can stay safe and avoid heat stroke this summer.
“It’s important for everyone to take the heat seriously and slow down over the next few days,” said Commissioner John Auerbach. “Please check on elderly family members or neighbors who might need a hand. Anyone in need of a cool place to be should call 2-1-1 for a list of cooling centers in your area.”
Here are some tips to follow during hot, humid weather:
- Slow down, avoid strenuous activity. Do not try to do too much on a hot day.
- Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you do not feel thirsty. Attempt to stay hydrated.
- Go to a place where you can get relief from the heat, such as air conditioned schools, libraries, theaters and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day.
- Check with your community for information about possible local ‘cooling centers’ or call 211 for more information. Limit intake of alcoholic beverages. They can actually dehydrate your body.
- Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals. Avoid high protein foods that increase metabolic heat.
Stay indoors as much as possible.
- If you do not have air conditioning, stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun. Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help evaporate perspiration, which cools your body.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%.
- Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. If you are outside, use sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating.
- Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
- Do not leave pets outside for extended periods. Make sure that they have plenty of drinking water.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors.
In normal weather, the body’s internal thermostat produces perspiration that evaporates and cools the body. However, in extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain normal temperature, which may lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you believe you, or anyone you are with, is experiencing a heat-related medical emergency, promptly call 911, and if possible, move to a cooler place.