Chill out, says NYC Health Department

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Folks in the New York City area as in much of the country beware: It s going to be hot out there, as temperatures soar into the 90s over the next few days. In its latest extreme heat advisory, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is warning New Yorkers of the dangerously hot weather set to begin today and extend through Sunday, July 1.

As ACSH s 2012 Summer Health and Safety Tips points out, such extreme weather conditions can lead to a number of adverse health effects, including heat stroke and death. While people of all ages are advised to seek shelter in air-conditioned areas over the weekend, those with underlying health conditions, as well as patients taking drugs that affect thermoregulation, are especially at risk. Cardiovascular disease or a history of heart attack, stroke, substance abuse, psychiatric illness, and breathing problems are all risk factors for heat-related illnesses. And those who suffer from dementia, diabetes, or who are severely obese, should take extra precaution.

Air conditioning is the best way to protect at-risk people, and those who do not have it at home should find their nearest New York City cooling center by either calling 311 or visiting this site.

There were approximately 31 heat-related deaths reported last year," notes ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. "But I suspect this was an underestimate. That s why, in addition to keeping cool in air-conditioned areas, it s also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Also, because those who are most at risk of hyperthermia often live alone, it s a good idea for friends and family members to check up on them.