STRATFORD — Health Director Andrea Boissevain is urging residents to spend at least part of the day out of heat to avoid heat-related conditions, and she says that there are several public buildings that people can be used for this.
The Baldwin Center, 1000 W Broad St., is a comfortable place to stay cool for all ages, not just seniors, and is open most evenings until 7 p.m.
The Birdseye Complex, 468 Birdseye St., offers a cooling respite with chairs in its main reception area and is open Monday through Thursday.
Town Hall is typically open until 4:30 p.m. and later on nights when there are public meetings.
The Stratford Library is open until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the summer.
“Even healthy individuals can be impacted by the heat,” she said. “Understanding how exposure to excessive heat affects the body, recognizing the signs and symptoms of serious heat-related illnesses, and taking simple preventive measures can make the difference between life and death.”
The warning signs of heat stroke are a body temperature above 105ºF, red-spotted, hot, and dry skin without sweating, rapid pulse, confusion, convulsions and loss of consciousness, she said.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. When body temperature rises quickly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. It can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Heat exhaustion is due to the body losing too much fluid, salt or both. The warning signs of heat exhaustion are dizziness, fatigue, weakness, headache, and vomiting.
In the event of heatstroke, she said that the following steps should be taken:
Get the victim in a shady or air-conditioned location.
Cool the victim using cool water bath or cool wet sponge, and fan.
Do not let the victim drink alcohol.
Monitor body temperature.
Have the victim drink sips of cool (not cold) water, or electrolyte-containing beverages, every 15 minutes for one hour. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
She said that people can protect themselves by drinking two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic beverages each hour, and wearing light colored, loose fitted clothing. Discontinue all activity and find a cool place if you feel lightheaded, confused, weak or faint. Save outdoor activities for the evening if possible.
Also, Boissevain urged people to take the following steps during a heat wave:
Avoid hot foods and heavy meals - they add heat to your body.
Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even for a short period.
Dress infants in cool, loose clothing and monitor fluid intake.
Stay indoors in an air-conditioned place during the middle of the day if possible.
Take a cool shower.
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
Check on elderly neighbors or relatives, or anyone who is physically ill.