With Monday’s temperatures in the 90’s and Tuesday’s temperatures expected to be in the mid-nineties, cooling centers around the city will open their doors tomorrow.
The National Weather Service has also issued a Heat Advisory until 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Strenuous activities should be avoided or scheduled for early morning or in the evening.
Though heat waves are not often considered to be a health risk, they can be dangerous – even fatal. According to the National Weather Service, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States – more than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Symptoms of heat illness can include dizziness, weakness, nausea, disorientation and shortness of breath. Those younger than five and over 65 are at the greatest risk during a heat wave.
Often, it is not just the heat alone that kills, but the added stress can aggravate heart or lung disease.
Cooling centers open when the heat index – often termed as apparent temperature – surpasses 100 or after two consecutive days of 95. A heat index of 100 is expected on Tuesday.
Often housed in senior centers, libraries and community centers, there are over 400 cooling centers throughout the city. To locate the one nearest to you call 3-1-1 or visit the Office of Emergency Management’s web site, www.nyc.gov/oem (the cooling center locator will be available on the OEM’s website after 8 p.m. Monday night).
Here are some tips from the OEM beating the heat:
• Use an air conditioner if you have one.
• If you do not have an air conditioner, go to a cooler place such as an air-conditioned store, mall, museum or movie theater.
• Use a fan if the air is not too hot. Fans work best at night to bring in cooler air from outside. Use a fan only when the air conditioner is on or the windows are open.
• Drink plenty of water or other fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar.
• If possible, stay out of the sun. When you’re in the sun, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible, wear a hat to protect your face and head, and use sunscreen (at least SPF 15) to protect exposed skin.
• Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car.
• Avoid strenuous activity, or plan it for the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 AM. and 7 AM.
• Be careful if you take a cold shower to stay cool – sudden temperature changes can make you feel dizzy or sick.