Submitted by ub on Sun, 07/14/2013 - 10:16

Hot and humid summer weather can cause heat illness and even death. More Americans die from heat waves than all other natural disasters combined. In New York City, more than 80% of heat stroke deaths in recent years occurred in homes without air conditioning. Older adults, people with chronic medical conditions or mental health conditions, the socially isolated, and certain other groups are
Pay attention to weather reports on the news, or check National Weather Service reports. The heat index is a measure of how hot it feels based on temperature and humidity. A heat index above 95°F is especially dangerous for older adults and other vulnerable individuals.

Keep Cool... The best way to prevent heat illness is to stay in an air conditioned place. Make sure you and your family stay cool during a heat wave. If you or someone you know cannot stay cool at home, visit a cool place like a library, a friend’s home with air conditioning, or a city cooling center. Cooling centers are open across the city during serious heat waves. To locate one, visit: Find a Cooling Center or call 311.
Check on Neighbors and Family Members
Check on vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors to make sure they stay safe and cool. Air conditioning is the best way to keep cool when it is hot outside, but some people do not have an air conditioner or do not turn it on when they need it. Encourage them to use air conditioning. Help them get to an air-conditioned place if they cannot stay cool at home.

What is Heat Illness?
Heat illness occurs when the body cannot cool down. The most serious forms of heat illness are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises quickly, and can rapidly lead to death. Keeping cool can be hard work for the body. This extra stress on the body can also worsen other health conditions such as heart and lung disease.

What are the Signs of Heat Illness?

Hot, dry skin OR cold, clammy skin
Confusion, hallucinations, disorientation
Unconscious or unresponsive
Nausea or vomiting
Trouble breathing
Rapid, strong pulse