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The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat watch beginning Thursday afternoon meaning dangerously hot temperatures are expected. The Amherst Health and Safety departments urge residents to take precautions to ensure they keep cool and safe during this period of expected extreme heat and humidity. Extreme summer heat conditions are not only uncomfortable, they can cause heat-related illness including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Anyone can be affected by heat illness, but certain groups are more vulnerable: elderly adults (65 years and older), infants and children, and people with chronic medical conditions.
To protect your health during extremely hot weather, remember to keep cool and use common sense. The following tips can help in avoiding heat illness:
Drink Plenty of Fluids
You need to increase your fluid (non-alcoholic) intake, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you are thirsty; try to drink some fluid every hour. Keeping hydrated is extremely important.
Stay indoors, and if possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If you do not have conditioning, consider visiting a shopping mall or public library; a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. At home, covering your windows with curtains or shades and using your stove and oven less can help maintain a cooler temperature inside.
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Use Sunscreen
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing; light colors reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain a normal body temperature. If you must go outdoors, wear a hat to protect your face, and apply sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself.
Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated or rescheduled to the coolest part of the day. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound or gasp for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint.
Children and Pets
Never leave your children or pets in a parked car! Protect your children and pets as you would yourself in extreme heat conditions.
Massachusetts Emergency Management System
Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide (CDC)