Submitted by the Bedford Board of Health
The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch for eastern Massachusetts, including the Bedford area, for Saturday, July 20th from 11 am – 9 pm, where heat index values may reach 107 degrees. With this forecast, please be mindful of ways to prevent heat-related illness and stay safe.
Places to Go to Get Out of the Heat
If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall (the Burlington Mall is open 10 am – 9 pm on Saturday and 11 am – 6 pm on Sunday) or the public library (The Bedford Free Public Library at 7 Mudge Way is open from 9 am – 5 pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday).
Additionally, the Bedford Council on Aging at 12 Mudge Way is open on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness
- Drink Plenty of Fluids: During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink (Note: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot). Popsicles, watermelon, cantaloupe, fruit salads, and Jell-o all contain a lot of water and summertime is the perfect time to indulge in such treats. Avoid caffeine and alcohol whenever possible.
- Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Use a sunscreen product rated at least SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15 and apply it liberally to all exposed skin at least 30-60 minutes before going out into the sun.
- Stay Cool Indoors: Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall (the Burlington Mall is open 10 am – 9 pm on Saturday and 11 am – 6 pm on Sunday) or the public library (The Bedford Free Public Library at 7 Mudge Way is open from 9 am – 5 pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday). Additionally, the Bedford Council on Aging at 12 Mudge Way is open on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
Monitor Those at High Risk: Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.
- Infants and children up to four years of age are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
- People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.
- People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
Q&A: Heat-Related Illness
- What are Heat Cramps? Heat Cramps occur after vigorous activities like running or playing tennis. Their signs are painful abdominal spasms and cramps in major muscles such as the legs and abdomen. Cramps subside with rest, cooling down and plenty of water.
- What is Heat Exhaustion? Heat Exhaustion has many symptoms-fever, heavy sweating, fainting, rapid pulse, low blood pressure, clammy skin, ashen skin tone, and nausea. Overexertion and not drinking enough water is the usual cause. To treat it, go indoors with a fan or air conditioning or to a shady spot, apply cool cloths, immediately lie down with your legs elevated, loosen tight clothes, and drink cool water or sports beverages.
- What is Heat Stroke? Heat Stroke (Sunstroke) can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical help. The symptoms include not only those associated with heat exhaustion, but also very rapid pulse and breathing, delirium, unconsciousness, and lack of perspiration to cool the body.
Prevent Heat-Related Illness
- Avoid direct sun from late morning until 4 pm
- Limit vigorous exercise or chores to early morning or late afternoon
- Dress in light-colored, loose-fitting clothes
- Drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluid
- Eat light meals
For more information, please contact the Bedford Board of Health at 781-275-6507.
You may also visit the CDC website on extreme heat at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html.