Wolf Administration Reminds Residents to Stay Safe during Hot Weather

July 06, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – State officials are urging the public to pay close attention to local weather forecasts and take steps to stay safe during this summer heat and humidity.  Forecasters are calling for a heat wave, complete with muggy air for the remainder of this first week of July.  Temperatures will soar into the 90s with humidity making it feel close to 100° in many spots, especially southeastern Pennsylvania.

“This is the first time this summer that we’re seeing an extended period of high temperatures combined with high humidity,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “People need to make sure they’re keeping an eye on loved ones, elderly neighbors and pets to keep everyone safe during this time.”

Cities and urban areas are likely to be the hottest, as concrete and brick buildings often allow heat to build up more than rural areas.  Long range forecasts indicate more heat and humidity may be on the way in the coming weeks.

“High heat and humidity can lead to serious health problems for Pennsylvanians of all ages, but extreme heat is a problem for our aging population in particular,” said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne. “The 65 and older population is more likely to have a chronic medical condition or take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. It’s important for people to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and take action to prevent becoming sick.”

Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy shared the following tips and links to help you and your loved ones stay safe during dangerous heat waves:

  • Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible.
  • Drink plenty of water during the day – don’t wait until you are thirsty!
  • Outdoor workers should drink between two and four cups of water every hour while working.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar.
  • Limit your outdoor activity to mornings and evenings and rest often in the shade.
  • Wear light-colored and loose fitting clothing, a hat, sunglasses and an SPF15 or higher sunscreen.
  • Check on those who may be more at risk from high temperatures.
  • Never leave your children or pets in a vehicle, even if you think it will only be for a short time.
  • Know the symptoms of heat stroke, a life-threatening, heat-related illness.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture officials reiterated that animals can also be impacted during extreme heat spells.

“Heat stress is a real threat for animals, even in the shade of a barn or shed, and is especially dangerous in a hot car,” said Secretary Russell C. Redding. “Since the temperature can become suffocating within a matter of minutes, leading to health problems and possible death, it is important to not leave your pets in the car during the summer months. It is also important to make sure your pets, livestock and other animals have access to shade and plenty of fresh, clean, cool water.”

Redding provided additional tips to keep pets and livestock safe:

  • Provide shade – move the animals to shaded areas if possible.
  • Provide water – as temperatures rise, animals need to consume more water. Spraying animals with water using a sprinkler that provides large droplets can also help them to keep cool.
  • Provide fans –air movement that can help lower humidity in areas where animals gather. Fans and water sprinklers work together for evaporative cooling to more quickly and effectively cool animals down.
  • Avoid overworking livestock – it’s safest to work with livestock early in the morning when their body temperatures are low. In addition, routine livestock management procedures such as vaccination, hoof trimming and dehorning should be postponed until the weather cools.
  • Avoid unnecessary transportation – if livestock must be moved, try to do so in the late evening or early morning hours.
  • Take dogs for early morning or late-evening walks, when temperatures are cooler.

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