TIOGA COUNTY, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The temperature continues to heat up as we find ourselves in the thick of summer 2022. The Tioga County Public Health Department is offering tips to protect against heat-related illnesses.

Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is unable to cool itself down. According to the health department, the most common heat-related illnesses are heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat rash.

Between May and September of 2019, 1,256 New Yorkers (excluding NYC residents) were sent to the emergency room and 133 were hospitalized due to heat-related illness. The health department asks you to follow 3 simple steps to help in these dangerous situations.

Avoid, spot, and treat.

Avoid:

  • Check on friends and neighbors at high risk for heat-related illness: infants, young children, older adults, and people with chronic medical conditions.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks.
  • Stay out of the sun and in an air-conditioned location, if possible.
  • Never leave people or pets in closed, parked vehicles (even with the windows cracked).
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing to help keep cool. Don’t forget sunscreen and a ventilated hat.
  • Take breaks often and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (between 11 and 4).

Spot signs of heat-related illness:

  • Heat stroke and heat exhaustion have many similar symptoms including dizziness, headache, upset stomach or vomiting, and fainting or passing out.
  • Heat stroke – body temperature above 103°F; red, hot, dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; confusion.
  • Heat exhaustion – heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness.

Treat – What to do when you think someone is experiencing heat stroke:

  • Move the person indoors or to a shady area.
  • Do not give them fluids.
  • Place the person in a cool bath or shower.
  • Spray them with a garden hose or sponge their body with cool water.
  • Continue these efforts until help arrives or until their body temperature falls below 102°F.

Treat – What to do when you think someone is experiencing heat exhaustion:

  • Give the person cool, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Give them a cool bath, shower, or sponge bath.
  • Move the person to an air-conditioned room.

Seek medical help immediately if symptoms are severe or if the victim has heat problems or high blood pressure.