Summertime Meltdown

Here are ways to stay healthy, safe during scorching summer heat

By Rachel Evans

With hot temperatures come the risk for many heat-related illnesses and extra stress on the body, including the heart.

As the temperature rises, so can your risk for suffering health issues like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, according to the Greater Utica division of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

The body has a more difficult time controlling its temperature and staying cool during really hot weather. 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. Some people are at increased risk for heat-related illnesses including older adults, children, and people with chronic health conditions.

Tony Ceresoli, Rome native and executive director of the Greater Utica division of the AHA/ASA, explained, “The summer months can be a great time to get active and heart-healthy, but we all need to protect our hearts and stay safe in the heat. It’s easier to become overheated when the temperatures are already hot.

“Heart patients should be extra aware. Certain heart medications can exaggerate the body’s response to heat, so check with your health care professional if you have any questions. Don’t stop being physically active in the summer, just do it safely.”

Take necessary precautions

AHA/ASA warns about the importance of taking precautions during extreme heat:

— Avoid being outdoors during peak heat/sun times between noon and 3 p.m.

— If you do go outside during these hours, take regular breaks to stay cool and hydrated. Seek shade.

— Stay in cool, air-conditioned areas when possible. Shopping malls, libraries, senior centers, and cooling centers are options if you do not have air conditioning in your home. You can fix one easily with the help of HVAC San Diego King | HVACSDK.

— Choose well-ventilated shoes

— Wear lightweight, light-colored and breathable clothing

— Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15 and reapply according to package instructions, every two hours, or more frequently if needed.

— Stay hydrated and drink a few cups of water before, during, and after exercise. If possible, avoid high endurance exercise during very hot temperatures. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as well.

— If you are a heart patient, over the age of 50, overweight or just starting an exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor for your best exercise routine.

— Sometimes no matter how many precautions you take, it is possible that you still may experience some extent of heat stress or heat-related illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the following are some signs and symptoms of heat-related illness:

— Hot, red skin

— Fast pulse

— Headache/dizziness

— Nausea

— Confusion

— Fatigue

— Losing consciousness/passing out

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to get in a cool place and seek medical attention.

For a list of local cooling centers or places where you can go to stay cool, visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/.

Here is a list of cooling centers in Oneida County: (Always call before you go to make sure the cooling center is open.)

— Ava Dorfman Senior Center, 305 E. Locust St., Rome (315-337-8230)

— New Hartford Senior Center, 1 Sherman St., New Hartford (315-724-8966)

— New York Mills Senior Center, 320 Main St., New York Mills (315-736-7360)

— North Utica Senior Citizens, 50 Riverside Drive, Utica (315-724-2430)

— Parkway Senior Center, 220 Memorial Parkway, Utica (315-223-3073)

— Sangertown Mall, 8555 Seneca Turnpike, New Hartford (315-797-8520)

— South Rome Senior Center, 112 Ridge St., Rome (315-339-6457)

— Whitestown Senior Center, 1 Championship Way, Whitesboro (315-768-6047)

And in Madison County:

Red Cross-Madison-Oneida branch, 134 Vanderbilt Ave., Oneida (315-363-2900); call for cooling center locations