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'Dangerous' Heat Starts Friday: Prepare Now

The first heat wave of the year is expected to start this weekend.
The first heat wave of the year is expected to start this weekend. Photo Credit: AccuWeather.com

With the National Weather Service forecasting a “significant” heat wave beginning on Friday and lasting through at least Monday, New Yorkers are being encouraged to exercise extra precaution and check on the region’s at-risk populations.

According to the National Weather Service, over the weekend, there will high temperatures and humidity, resulting in heat indexes ranging from the mid 90s and up to 104 degrees. A Hazardous Weather Outlook has been announced, and there is a chance of air quality deterioration.

To avoid heat-related illnesses, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo  is “encouraging New Yorkers to limit strenuous outdoor physical activity during this time period, especially for people who are more susceptible, including young children, the elderly, those who exercise outdoors, those involved in vigorous outdoor work, and those who have respiratory diseases such as asthma.”

“With a stretch of extreme heat and humidity ahead of us, I urge residents and visitors to take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their families safe," Cuomo said. "I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of state cooling stations, pools and water bodies across the Empire State and to be mindful of air quality and other health risk factors to ensure a safe, enjoyable holiday weekend.”

According to the New York State Department of Health, research, funded by NASA, showed that emergency department visits and hospital admissions from heat increase significantly on days when the heat index reaches 95 degrees or higher. The risk of heat stress, dehydration, renal illness, cardiovascular illness and death increases for up to four days after a heatwave, which is defined as three or more consecutive days with temperatures topping 90 degrees.

To help beat the heat, cooling centers are being set up in the region to help area residents stay cool. Cuomo’s office has also issued a series of advice to help avoid any heat-related illnesses:

  • Slow down on strenuous activity and exercise, especially during the sun's peak hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
  • Exercise should be done in the early morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.;
  • Eat less protein and more fruits and vegetables. Protein produces and increases metabolic heat, which causes water loss. Eat small meals, but eat more often. Do not eat salty foods;
  • Drink at least two to four glasses of water per hour during extreme heat, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine;
  • If possible, stay out of the sun and stay in air conditioning. The sun heats the inner core of your body, resulting in dehydration. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine, or go to a public building with air conditioning;
  • If you must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head. When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn and over-warming effects of sunlight on your body;
  • Do not leave children, pets or those who require special care in a parked car or vehicle during periods of intense summer heat. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach over 140 degrees Fahrenheit quickly. Exposure to such high temperatures can kill within a matter of minutes;
  • Make sure there is enough food and water for pets.

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