Heat advisory issued as temps soar today

Reporter Staff
Jul. 17, 2012

Mayor Menino has issued a heat advisory reminding residents to stay safe and healthy in today's 90 degree-plus heat. The city's 16 indoor pools will stay open until 9:30 p.m. to help residents stay cool.

“Keeping pools open later this evening will help our residents find a few more hours of relief on this dangerously hot day,” Mayor Menino said. “In these conditions, I also remind everyone to stay hydrated and please check in on your vulnerable neighbors.”

“No doubt, summer temperatures are here,” Mayor Menino said. “During hot weather, it’s important to stay cool and hydrated, and to keep an eye on our vulnerable neighbors.”

The city issued the following requests and advice as part of their advisory:

• Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses and injuries, but everyone should remember to limit their activities during very hot weather, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol.

• When outdoors, limit strenuous activity, wear sunscreen and loose, light-colored clothing, and rest often in cool, shady areas. Additional measures to beat the heat include avoiding cooking, taking cool showers or baths, and staying in air conditioned areas whenever possible.

For questions about heat-related city services, residents should call the Mayor's 24-Hour Hotline at 617-635-4500. Comprehensive heat safety tips and resources are available on the city website at www.cityofboston.gov/heat.

Here are some additional tips, courtesy of the Mattapan Community Health Center

Summer is finally here and everyone is enjoying the warm weather outdoors and spending time with family and friends. So while you and your family soak up the sun, Mattapan Community Health Center wants you to be aware of some “Summer Safety Tips” to protect you in this hot weather.

Sun Safety: The sun is the strongest between 10a.m. – 2 pm. Therefore, you should limit the amount of time spent outside during these hours. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, thirty minutes before going outside – reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.

Stay Cool – According to the Center for Disease Control, getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can't compensate for it and properly cool you off. Heat exposure can even kill you: it caused 8,015 deaths in the United States from 1979 to 2003. These are the main things affecting your body's ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather:
• High humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat won't evaporate as quickly, which keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.
• Personal factors. Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.
Here are some facts about which people are at greatest risk for heat-related illness and what protective actions to take to prevent illness or death:
• People who are at highest risk are the elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases
• But even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
• Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.
You can take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather:
• Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location
• Drink plenty of fluids – especially water.
• Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
• Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
• Pace yourself.
• Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
• Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
• Do not leave children or animals in cars.
• Check the local news for weather safety health alerts.

Water Safety: Parents should carefully monitor children while swimming. Drowning is the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries for youth ages 5 to 24 according to the National Safety Council. Do not rely on flotation devices and inflatable toys for water safety. These devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation. Never leave your child alone in or near a pool . . . not even for a second.

Constantly watch your children when they are swimming. Do not talk on the telephone, read, or engage in any distracting activity while your children are swimming. Be aware that most incidences of children drowning occur in swimming pools. Sixty to ninety percent of the drowning among children less than 4 years old, occurs in residential pools. Of these, more than half occur at the child’s own home.

Barbecue and Fire Safety: Keep children away from the grill and never leave it unattended. Never use a grill inside a home or garage. Never allow children to play with fireworks, even sparklers, as they can reach 2000 degrees.

General Safety: Always secure and properly screen open windows at home, wear seat belts (remember in Massachusetts…Click it or ticket), secure children in car safety seats and everyone should wear bike helmets while riding bikes, scooters, or skateboarding to prevent injuries. Although, proper safety rules should be used with any activity throughout the year, special attention is required during the summer months. Using these tips as a guide, will make for an enjoyable, accident –free summer. If you have any questions contact your primary care provider or call Mattapan Community Health Center at 617-296-0061.