DHSS Urges Residents to Avoid Dangers of Extreme Heat
With temperatures expected to reach into the 90's today and tomorrow, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) urges residents to take steps to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
"Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are serious conditions that can require hospital care," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary O'Dowd. "In extremely hot weather, it is vital to drink plenty of fluids, spend time in cool places and minimize any physical activity. And please remember to pay special attention to small children and elderly family members and neighbors to make sure they are safe."
Prolonged heat and humidity can present a serious health hazard, especially for young children, the elderly and persons taking certain medications.
Each year more than 1,200 persons are treated in New Jersey emergency departments for heat-related illness or sunburn. Overexposure to summer heat causes between 45 and 170 hospitalizations in New Jersey annually depending on the average outdoor temperature. The majority of those hospitalized in New Jersey are male, ages 65-84, and are hospitalized for 3 or more days.
To avoid health complications from excessive heat:
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 need immediate 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.