Contact: Jessica Atkinson
Phone: (856) 327-7602 x 7107
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heat Advisory in Cumberland County
CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NJ (August 12, 2016) – With temperatures averaging in the 90s this week, and a heat advisory in effect, the Cumberland County Health Department would like to stress the importance of staying safe and healthy in this warm weather. High temperatures can put people at risk of dehydration, heat stroke and hospitalization. Health Officer Megan Sheppard says, “Keep yourself and loved ones cool and comfortable. Take advantage of one of the cooling shelters that are open in the county if you’re unable to run fans and air conditioning. Stay inside if you do have air conditioning, and, as always, drink plenty of water.”
Too much time spent in high temperatures can lead to a heat exhaustion or heat stroke (aka sun stroke). They all occur when the body is trying to cool itself down after being in the heat for a long time. When this happens, the blood rushes to the surface of the skin and less blood reaches your brain, muscles and other organs. Although they are caused by high temperatures, each is a little different:
• Heat exhaustion can happen when a large amount of fluids is lost through sweat. This can disturb circulation and brain function.
• Heat stroke happens when long exposure to heat causes the temperature control part of the brain to shut down. This can prevent someone from sweating and cooling down his or her body.
Some symptoms include unconsciousness, seizures, difficulty breathing, confusion, restlessness, anxiety, heavy sweating or no sweat and vomiting or diarrhea. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can happen to anyone, but the elderly and young children have higher chances of being affected because their bodies do not lose heat quickly. People who work outdoors are also at a higher risk.
If you or someone you know is suffering from heat stroke or heat exhaustion, call 911 immediately or contact a medical provider, then move the person inside or to shade. Try to give fluids, remove extra clothing, and try to cool their body with water or ice packs.
Not all instances require emergency assistance and mild cases can be treated at home. If the person is not showing any of the above symptoms they can be treated with the following: rest, move out of direct sunlight, cool down with a fan or ice packs, drink sports fluids that contain electrolytes and avoid strenuous activity.
Here are some helpful tips on avoiding these conditions:
• Stay hydrated before, during and after outdoor activity. Sweating causes you to lose a lot of fluid so staying hydrated is key!
• Try to stay in a shaded area when outdoors. Bringing an umbrella, tent or staying under a shady tree can keep you cooler and prevent higher body temperatures.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Darker clothing attracts sunlight.
• Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. These can affect circulation and increase dehydration.
• Avoid being outside at peak sun hours. Between 10am and 4pm the sun and the temperature and your risk are at its highest. Stay indoors or under shade.
For more information and to locate the cooling centers in your area, visit the 211 website at http://www.nj211.org/. The complete list can also be found on the Cumberland County Department of Health Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CCDOH