Summer is in full swing, bringing with it high heat and humidity. With that in mind, I’d like to share some summer safety tips that will help residents of all ages stay cool and healthy during the next few months.
According to statistics provided by the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services, more than 1,200 New Jerseyans visit the Emergency Room every year for severe sunburn and other heat-related illnesses. Overexposure to the heat can cause as many as 170 hospitalizations in the state every year, and the majority of those cases involve a hospital stay of at least three days.
Prolonged heat and humidity are particularly dangerous for young children, the elderly, and those who have underlying health complications and mobility problems. Certain medications can also amplify the risks of overexposure.
In addition to caring for yourselves, your children and your pets, please be conscious of elderly and disabled friends, relatives and neighbors. Check in on them regularly, to ensure that they, too stay safe and healthy.
To avoid health complications from excessive heat: • Stay as cool as possible, and avoid spending time in locations that are not air-conditioned. If you are without air conditioning in your home, spend time in public facilities that are, such as movie theaters, libraries, and shopping malls. Electric fans will provide some relief, but they will not prevent illness when the temperature passes 95 degrees. And fans will do absolutely no good if they’re kept in a room with the windows shut. Cherry Hill has three municipal cooling centers that are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. during heat emergencies:
- The Carmen Tilelli Community Center, 820 Mercer St.- The Cherry Hill Library, 1100 N. Kings Hwy.
- The Cherry Hill Mall on Haddonfield Rd.• Stay hydrated with water and other non-alcohol beverages, and make sure children, pets, and the elderly are also well-hydrated and that those with limited mobility have easy access to plenty of fluids.
• Wear loose, light-colored, lightweight clothing – including a hat when you’re outdoors.• Limit outdoor activity during the day and restrict physical activities to the cooler early mornings or evenings.
• Never leave children, the elderly or disabled, or your pets in an enclosed car, even for just a minute. Temperatures can rise to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes.• And if you are on any medications, consult your health care provider about whether your medication might increase your risk of heat-related illness.
Finally, know the signs of heat stroke and exhaustion. Heat stroke sufferers can go from seemingly normal to very ill in just minutes, while heat exhaustion tends to build up over several days of high temperatures.
• Heatstroke sufferers need immediate medical attention. Symptoms include hot, dry skin; a body temperature of 106 degrees or more; an absence of sweat; and a rapid and strong pulse. Victims may become delirious or unconscious. • Heat exhaustion is milder. Symptoms include pale, clammy skin and profuse sweating. Victims may feel lethargic, weak or dizzy and sometimes have headaches or cramps. Their body temperature will stay close to normal.
Summertime can be full of fun and relaxation – but it’s easy to forget that we should take it easy when the temperatures rise. For more information on summer safety, and for information on ways to prepare for summer-weather emergencies, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website at http://www.ready.gov/heat. The Cherry Hill Office of Emergency Management also offers a wealth of helpful information at www.CherryHill-NJ.com, under “Cherry Hill Headlines.”
For questions or concerns about a potential heat-related emergency, please call the Cherry Hill Police Department at (856) 665-1200. And, of course, in a true medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
For other general questions or concerns, please contact my office at (856) 488-7878, or MayorCahn@chtownship.com.
Please have a safe, happy and healthy summer season!