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heatwave in the northeast

Heatwave in the Northeast

The heatwave is here again. Just recently, more than 20 million people across the Northeast were under a heat advisory as record temperatures stretched from Virginia to New Hampshire.

Protecting your health and safety is a top priority. Heatstroke is a life-threaten condition that can be deadly if not treated. Find out what to do when the temperature soars.

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water — at least 2 liters per day, or sports drinks that contain electrolytes — particularly if you’re physically active or exercising outdoors. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate you. If your loved one is not drinking enough water, encourage them by offering a glass of water with every meal or snack. Additionally, there are foods that can keep you and your loved ones hydrated.

Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing during the day and clothes made from natural fibers like cotton at night. Don’t wear shorts or tank tops when in the sun — even if it’s cloudy outside.

Take frequent breaks from work or play in a shady area with fans blowing cool air at you. If possible, go inside an air-conditioned building for relief from the heat.

Never leave children or pets unattended in cars, even for a few minutes; temperatures inside a car can reach dangerous levels in just minutes on warm days.

Avoid excessive sun exposure by staying inside during peak hours (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) and using sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher if you have to go outside during the given times (even if clouds cover the sky).

Stay inside as much as possible. If you work or live in an air-conditioned space, stay there if at all possible. Heatstroke can occur when body temperatures rise above 104 degrees Fahrenheit or (40 C), so avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures can help prevent it.

Check on older family members frequently if they live alone or without air conditioning. Keep their home as cool as possible, especially bedrooms. Use blinds or shades to block out sunlight, and consider turning off lights in rooms that aren’t needed.

Ask about medications. Some medications can cause dehydration, making it even more critical for seniors to drink enough water during the heatwave. Check with their doctor if you are uncertain about what medications your loved one is taking and how much fluid they need to maintain adequate hydration levels during times of high temperatures and humidity.

Seniors are at a higher risk for dehydration because their bodies do not sweat as much as younger people. Older adults also have more difficulty regulating their body temperature. As a result, they often suffer from heat exhaustion when temperatures rise even a few degrees above normal.

If you think someone may be suffering from heatstroke, call 911 immediately — heatstroke can be fatal if left untreated. Stay cool and hydrated. Be sure to keep up with the weather with the National Weather Service.

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