Beware the heat

Expect heat indexes topping 90, nearing 100 on Thursday, weather service warns


If you can find a way to stay cool in the next couple of days, you might want to do exactly that: The National Weather Service has declared a heat advisory form 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday in Tompkins and Cayuga counties, and warned Cortland County residents that the heat index will top 90 degrees.

Heat indexes -- a combination of actual heat and the exascerbating effect of humidity -- will approach 100 degrees in Tompkins and Cayuga, the weather service warned.

A cooling center will open at Access to Independence, 26 N. Main St. It's open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and besides air conditioning, offers a library and computer lab.

“If the Red Cross thinkd they (people) need a location after hours or on weekends, then they make a plan with us to have us open on those time,” said Alexandra Mikowski, the executive director of Access To Independence.

Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned environment if you can, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors, the weather service suggests. Don't leave pets or children in unattended vehicles.

If you work or spend time outside, you might want to reschedule strenuous activities to cooler periods -- early morning or the evening and take frequent breaks in shade or air-conditioned environments.

Watch for signs heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Wear light, loose-fitting clothes.

Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke -- seek medical help for heat stroke:

Heat stroke:

  • High body temperature, 104 degree or higher.
  • Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma.
  • Altered sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist.
  • Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
  • Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
  • Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
  • Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
  • Headache. Your head may throb.

Heat exhaustion:

  • Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat.
  • Heavy sweating.
  • Faintness, dizziness or nausea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Weak, rapid pulse, or low blood pressure upon standing.
  • Headache.