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New Jersey
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Monday, July 7, 2014

Heat Wave Threat: Take Steps to Prevent Heat-Related Illness

Temperatures are expected to hover around the low 90s through Wednesday bringing the potential of a summer heat-wave, categorized by three consecutive days of 90-degree temperatures.

Atlantic County health officials remind residents to take precautions to avoid heat-related illness during hot and humid conditions.

Those most at risk for heat-related illness include sensitive populations such as children; people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases; the elderly; outdoor laborers; and athletes. Pets are also susceptible to the effects of heat.

There are a number of steps people can take to guard against heat-related illness. One of the most important is to drink plenty of fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol as they can contribute to dehydration.

Spending a few hours a day in an air-conditioned place such as a shopping mall or library can help residents, and particularly those most vulnerable, to cope with hot, humid weather. The Atlantic County Library System has 10 branches located throughout Atlantic County. To find a location near you and hours of operation, visit

Other advice for avoiding heat-related illness:

Check on elderly relatives and neighbors to see if they need help taking proper heat precautions, or if they need medical attention as a result of the heat.

If you are elderly or otherwise at risk, take advantage of any air-conditioned shelters that are set up during heat waves. Residents sixty years of age or older may find comfort from the heat at any of the county's nine air conditioned senior centers. For the location nearest you or assistance for an elderly individual, call the Atlantic County Division of Intergenerational Services at 1-888- 426-9243.

Take care not to overdress children and to give them plenty of liquids to drink. Children under age five are especially sensitive to the effects of the heat.

Don't leave children or pets in enclosed cars, as temperatures can quickly climb to dangerous levels.

If possible, reduce physical activity or schedule it for the cooler parts of the day.

Wear loose and light-colored clothing.

Check with your health provider before taking salt tablets. Salt supplements are not necessary for the general public, although those who regularly work under very hot conditions may need them.

Talk to your health provider about any medicine or drugs you are taking. Certain medications, such as tranquilizers and drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease, can increase the risk of heat-related illness.

Make sure pets have plenty of water and if left outside, plenty of shade. Please keep in mind a tree providing shade for your pet in the morning may not offer the same shade coverage in the afternoon.

For further information on heat-related illness, visit the Atlantic County Web site at or call the Division of Public Health at (609) 645-5935.

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