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Friday, July 22, 2016

Beat the Heat: Westchester Medical Center Offers Weather Safety Tips for Forecasted Extreme Heat and Humidity


CONTACT:   Anna Dolianitis
(914) 493-3147

VALHALLA, N.Y. (July 21, 2016) – Summer is a time for outdoor activities and fun in the sun, but the combination of extreme temperatures – like those expected this week – and high humidity can be very dangerous. With forecasted temperatures in the 90s this week, Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), is urging residents to take extra precautions to stay safe.

“A day or two of extreme temperatures and humidity is typically not a cause for concern for most healthy people who limit their exposure to the heat and are careful to stay hydrated,” said Ivan Miller, MD, Director of Emergency Medicine at Westchester Medical Center, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital and MidHudson Regional Hospital. “The weather becomes a cause for concern when temperatures and humidity remain elevated for three or four days or more, and the emergency department begins to see an increase in visits by people suffering from heat-related illness.”

Particularly at risk are infants and young children, older adults and those whose work requires them to spend extended periods of time outdoors, such as road crews, sanitation works, and public safety officers.

Heat emergencies include heat cramps, signaled by cramping of the abdominal muscles and arm or leg muscles, and heat exhaustion, signaled by profuse sweating, nausea and cramps of the arm or leg muscles. These weather emergencies can be corrected by getting out of the heat and staying hydrated, said Geralyn Flaherty, RN, MPH, CEM, Clinical Director of Emergency Services, CDU and Stat Ground at Westchester Medical Center, but if these precautions are not taken, they could also lead to more serious illnesses like heat stroke.

“Heat stroke is most commonly seen in people who have untreated heat exhaustion, with their body losing its ability to cool itself down,” Flaherty said. Heat stroke can lead to seizures and possibly death.

To beat the summer heat and avoid possible illnesses, stay hydrated, especially on days when heat and humidity are high. “If you believe that you or a loved one may be suffering from the effects of heat, remove yourself from the heat, cool off and seek medical attention,” said Dr. Miller.

To keep you and your family safe during this week’s heat wave, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these extreme heat safety tips, endorsed by Westchester Medical Center:

  • Limit your exposure to the heat, sun or locations without proper ventilation.
  • Wear breathable, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Check on the elderly, who may be unaware of their limitations or may spend too much time exposed due to slow movement.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after outdoor activity. Avoid alcoholic beverages that can have an adverse effect on your body’s ability to regulate heat.

About Westchester Medical Center, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network
Westchester Medical Center is the premier provider of advanced medical care in New York’s Hudson Valley region. The flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, this 895-bed academic hospital located in Valhalla, New York, provides local residents with acute care services - Level I trauma and burn care, organ transplants and advanced neurovascular procedures and more - found nowhere else in the region. Westchester Medical Center is the primary referral facility for other hospitals in the Hudson Valley and serves as a lifeline for more than 3.5 million people. To learn more about Westchester Medical Center and the vital services it provides to residents of the Hudson Valley and beyond, visit www.WestchesterMedicalCenter.org or follow Westchester Medical Center at www.Facebook.com/WestchesterMedicalCenter or www.Twitter.com/WestchesterMed.

About Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth)

The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. From Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State, today WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit www.WMCHealth.org.