CORTLANDT, N.Y. – As a the heat advisory in Westchester continues, health care professionals are advising residents to keep an eye on their neighbors, friends and family members over 65 years old. According to the Centers for Disease Control, seniors, infants and those with chronic medical conditions are most likely to suffer from a heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Laura Fallon, director of admissions at Cedar Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, says watching out for elderly neighbors can decrease serious health problems caused by hot weather.
"Communicate if you need anything," she advises seniors. Try to get to a cooling center if you don't have air conditioning in your home, and be sure to drink more water. "Try to set your alarm clock to stay hydrated, and it should be water," she says.
The CDC advises, "Visit older adults at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke." Some signs of heat exhaustion, which can develop over several days, include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fainting, cool and moist skin, fast and weak pulse rate, and fast and shallow breathing.
Those who don't have air conditioning should try to get to a municipal cooling center or other air conditioned location.
Valerie Nolan, Croton's director of senior programs, says that transportation can also be a hurdle for elderly residents. She said a friendly neighbor can be an elderly person's best asset.
"It's a natural tendency to rally around the schools, but people might not know about the seniors," Nolan says.
Treatment for someone who may have heat exhaustion includes getting the person to a shady area, rapidly cooling the person, monitoring body temperature, drinking water and avoiding alcohol. The CDC says that people with heat stress may be in a life-threatening emergency, and medical assistance should be called immediately.
A high of 96 degrees on Wednesday is predicted by the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS is predicting a high of 88 on Thursday, and a high of 78 on Friday.
A cooling center in the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building, 1 Van Wick St., Croton-on-Hudson, will be open until Wednesday evening. The Hendrick Hudson and Croton Free libraries are also air conditioned.