Extreme Heat Warning with Board of Health Hints for Staying Cool

NWS predicts a possible high temperature of 104 degrees for Sunday afternoon, July 24, 2022

~ Submitted by the Bedford Health Department

Sunday’s weather update shows a possible high temperature of 104 degrees.

Tuesday’s hints are even more important today. The heat is expected to ‘break’ tomorrow with storms that could be severe.

The Bedford Board of Health shared a pair of National Weather Service heat warnings on Tuesday:

  • Heat Advisory from Tuesday, July 19th, through 8 PM tomorrow, July 20th, for much of Massachusetts, and an
  • Excessive Heat Watch in effect through Thursday, July 21st before slightly less humid weather arrives for Friday, July 22nd.

Extreme heat is a prolonged period of very hot weather, which may include high humidity. In Massachusetts, a “heat wave” is usually defined as a period of three or more consecutive days above 90 °F. Hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat illness if you are not careful. With this forecast, please be mindful of ways to prevent heat related illness and stay safe.

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 and bring plenty of water to outdoor activities!

Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen to Prevent Sunburns Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Use broad spectrum sunscreens with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) value of 15 or higher regularly to protect against UVA & UVB rays. Apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed skin at least 30-60 minutes before going out into the sun. Re-apply at least every two hours or more often if you are swimming or sweating. Consult with a health care professional before applying sunscreen to infants younger than 6 months.

Stay Cool Indoors Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned area. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider other locations that may have air conditioning such as:

  • The Bedford Public Library – 7 Mudge Way, Bedford 01730 Hours: Monday – Thursday 9am to 9pm, Friday 9am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm
  • The Bedford Council on Aging – 12 Mudge Way, Bedford 01730  Hours: Monday – Friday 8am to 4pm, Saturday 10am to 3pm
  • The Burlington Mall – 75 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington 01803  Hours: Monday – Thursday 10 am to 8 pm; Friday – Saturday 10  am to 9 pm; Sunday 12 pm to 6 pm

Monitor Those at High Risk for Heat-Related Illness

Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.

  • Those 65 years of age or older, or those with pre-existing medical conditions, may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and response to change in temperature.
  • Make daily visits to older relatives or neighbors. Remind them to stay hydrated and offer to help with transportation to cooler air-conditioned locations.
  • 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.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20°F within 10 minutes.
  • Remember to check on your neighbors and those who may have difficulty preparing for extreme heat.

Heat Illness Q&A

Heat illness may become a medical emergency. Contact your medical provider or emergency medical services if symptoms are not improving.

What are Heat Cramps? Heat Cramps are muscular pains and spasms that cause heavy sweating and 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 such as fever, heavy sweating, fainting, rapid pulse, low blood pressure, clammy skin, ashen skin tone and nausea. Overexertion and not drinking enough water are the usual cause. To treat it, go indoors with a fan or air conditioning or to a shady spot, apply cool clothes, 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.

Reminder ~ Springs Brooks Park, a Great Place to Cool Off with the Kids

SBP is a great way to enjoy the summer heat with family and friends! SBP offers a bathing beach, spray park, playground, shade structures, picnic areas, and games! Springs Brook Park is open Tuesday – Saturday noon to 5 pm (Closed Sunday and Monday). SBP is open to Bedford residents and members only. Daily admission for Bedford residents is $10/person and $35/family. All other visitors must have a membership before arriving at the Park. For additional information, please visit https://www.bedfordma.gov/springs-brook-park.

 Additional Tips to Prevent Heat Illness:

  • Avoid direct sun exposure from 10am-2pm, when the sun is the strongest.
  • Limit vigorous exercise or chores to early morning or late afternoon.
  • Slow down and avoid strenuous activity.
  • Dress in light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Drink plenty of water, non-caffeinated fluid, and well-balanced, light, regular meals.
  • When possible, stay indoors and in air conditioning. Do not leave pets outside for extended periods of time.

For additional information, please contact the Bedford Health Department at 781-275-6507 or visit https://www.bedfordma.gov/health-department. You may also visit the CDC website on extreme heat at: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website on extreme heat safety tips at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/extreme-heat-safety-tips

Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-430-8827

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