Utica, N.Y. - Oneida County has issued an advisory for people to use caution and safety during the upcoming heat wave.
The forecast is calling for extreme heat this weekend. Temperatures are expected to climb into the low 90s on Saturday and mid- to upper-90s on Sunday and Monday. High humidity is expected, too, making temperatures feel much hotter than that.
The heat index, a way to estimate how the humidity impacts the human body, will approach the upper 90s on Saturday and 105-110 on Sunday and Monday. The National Weather Service has an excessive heat warning from Sunday through Monday because of the potential dangers of this extreme heat.
The weather is expected to stay hot through next week. Temperatures will average the low 90s from Tuesday through Thursday.
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is urging residents to take the necessary precautions to remain safe under extreme heat conditions, "When temperatures climb this high, and the heat index bumps them up even higher, everyone needs to be very careful," said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. "I'm sure many people have plans for the Fourth of July that they are looking forward to, but we all must be wary of prolonged exposure to the heat and be vigilant in keeping cool and staying hydrated as much as possible. Especially our most vulnerable residents and pets."
Picente says extreme heat can trigger heat-related illness or heat stroke, where the body is unable to control its temperature. Body temperature increases fast, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body cannot cool down. The average person can overheat and get dehydrated easily in hot and humid weather.
Children, older adults and those with chronic health conditions are at increased risk for heat-related illness. Older adults and children have a more difficult time adjusting to sudden changes in temperature. Certain prescription medications can also affect the body's ability to control temperature and sweat. Extreme heat and humidity can also worsen respiratory problems such as asthma, because of a decrease in air quality.
Oneida County Health Department Director Phyllis Ellis says while seniors and children are most susceptible, heat-related illnesses can strike anyone and should not be taken lightly, "It is extremely important to monitor your body and be aware of any warning signs. If symptoms manifest, react quickly and seek medical attention if necessary."
The following are possible signs and symptoms of heat-related illness:
• Hot, red skin
• Fast pulse
• Losing consciousness/passing out
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, get them inside and seek medical attention.
The following are some tips to protect oneself during extreme heat:
• Stay hydrated. Drink during meals, and throughout the day before you become thirsty. Avoid caffeinated drinks.
• Avoid strenuous activity
• Stay in a cool, air-conditioned area when possible. Shopping malls, libraries, senior centers and cooling centers are options if you do not have air conditioning in your home.
• Avoid being outside during the peak hours of heat/sun, usually between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Wear light weight, light-colored clothing.
• Check on older adults and make sure they are staying cool. Do not leave children or pets in cars. Cars heat up quickly in the summer even with windows open.
• Wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15 or higher at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapply according to package instructions.
Oneida County Office for the Aging & Continuing Care Director Michael Romano says family members, friends and neighbors of older individuals, especially those who do not typically leave their residences, should check on them periodically during this time of extreme heat and humidity, "They are at a greater risk for heat-related illnesses due to weakened cardiovascular systems, especially those having chronic lung and heart disease."
St. Elizabeth Medical Center Physician's Assistant Russell Petrie says the hospital is prepared to see some extra patients in the coming days, but staffing right now is normal. Petrie says some tips people should remember over the coming says include, "Trying to stay indoors. If there’s air-conditioning that would be great, if there’s not, use a fan. Try to stay hydrated, probably that’s the number one thing, stay hydrated, water, Gatorade and stay away from alcohol, stay away from coffee. Make sure if you’re going to be out in the sun, sunscreen is important to prevent skin cancer. Certainly if you’re outside, stay in the shade as much as you can, and stay hydrated, I can’t stress that enough."
For more information on extreme heat and safety you can visit: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html
For local cooling centers, you can visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/