Posted Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

The National Weather Service is warning that temperatures and heat indexes may build into the upper 90’s, and possibly even reach 100 degrees or higher by Friday and into the weekend.

With that in mind, the Morris County Office of Health Management reminds county residents they should take precautions against heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“The best defense is prevention,” said Morris County Health Officer Carlos Perez, who advises everyone to drink more fluids (nonalcoholic) regardless of their activity level and even if they are not thirsty.

“If your doctor limits the amount of fluid you drink, or has you on water pills, ask your doctor how much you should drink while the weather is hot,” Perez said. He noted drinking water is best since liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar actually cause the loss of more body fluid.

Other tips from Perez include:

▪Stay indoors and, if possible, stay in an air conditioned place. Avoid being outside during the heat of the day, between 2 and 6 p.m.
▪If your home is not air conditioned, spend at least two hours daily at an air conditioned mall, library, senior center or other public place.
▪Wear light-weight, light-colored, loose fitting clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
▪Never leave children or pets alone in a closed, parked vehicle.

Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, Perez said infants, young children, older adults, people with disabilities and anyone with heart disease or high blood pressure are at greater risk than others and should be checked regularly.

“We should also remember to look in on elderly family members and neighbors twice a day if possible to make sure they are safe,” Perez said.

According to Perez, those who must be out in the heat should limit their outdoor activity to mornings and evening hours, cut down on exercise, try to rest in shady places and protect themselves from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and using a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher that provides both UVA and UVB protection.