Heatline Opens at Noon

Philadelphia, July 20, 2011 – In conjunction with the National Weather Service’s Excessive Heat Warning for the region, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Donald F. Schwarz, has issued a Warning for Philadelphia beginning Wednesday, July 20, at noon. The warning signals the activation of the City’s special summer heat programs, including home visits by special field teams, operation of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s ‘Heatline’, enhanced daytime outreach for the homeless, and the City’s effort to encourage the public to look in on older friends, relatives, and neighbors.

The ‘Heatline’ (215-765-9040) will be in operation from noon through midnight.

The Health Department urges the public to visit older friends, relatives and neighbors to ensure that air conditioners or fans are working and homes are adequately ventilated. In a heat wave, the majority of the victims are older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Other groups at risk in the extreme heat include people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, small children, those who work in a high heat environment and persons engaged in strenuous physical activity.

People who do not have air conditioning are advised to seek relief from the heat, for at least some part of the day, in shopping malls, movie theaters, senior centers and other air-conditioned public spaces.

The Health Department recommends that to avoid heat-related illness, Philadelphians of all ages should adhere to the following simple rules:
Avoid, as much as possible working or playing in the hot sun or other hot areas. If you must be out in the sun, wear a head covering. A wide brimmed hat or visor will not only protect your head from intense rays of the sun, it will also provide a shield for your eyes.
Use air-conditioners and fans. Open windows to release trapped hot air.
Those taking regular medication should consult with their physician. Some medications cause an adverse reaction in hot weather.
Wear lightweight clothing.
Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids, warm or cool. Because the body loses fluids in the heat, drinking lots of liquids helps to avoid dehydration.
Maintain a normal diet.
Shower or bathe in water that is near skin temperature.
Do not leave older people, children, or pets alone in cars.

The early warning signs of heat stress are decreased energy, slight loss of appetite, faintness, light-headedness and nausea. People experiencing these symptoms should go to a cool environment, drink fluids, remove excess clothing, and rest.

Serious signs of heat stress include unconsciousness, rapid heartbeat, throbbing headache, dry skin, chest pain, mental confusion, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, staggering, and difficulty breathing. People experiencing these symptoms should get immediate medical attention. While waiting for help move the person to a cool area, remove excess clothing, spray with water, and fan the person. In an emergency dial 911.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release
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