Around Town

Stay cool and drink plenty of water during heat wave

Staying cool over the next few days is important as temperatures will be over 90 degrees for several days. (THE WESTFIELD NEWS PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – With another couple of 90 degree days on tap, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health offers the following information about heat illnesses, stressing the importance of staying out of the sun when experiencing symptoms and drinking plenty of water.

Heat Cramps occur after vigorous activities like running or playing tennis. Their signs are painful abdominal spasms and cramps in major muscles such as the legs and abdomen. Cramps subside with rest, cooling down and plenty of water.

Heat Exhaustion has many symptoms-fever, heavy sweating, fainting, rapid pulse, low blood pressure, clammy skin, ashen skin tone and nausea. Overexertion and not drinking enough water is the usual cause. To treat it, go indoors with a fan or air conditioning or to a shady spot, apply cool clothes, immediately lie down with your legs elevated, loosen tight clothes, and drink cool water or sports beverages.

Heat Stroke (Sunstroke) can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical help. The symptoms include not only those associated with heat exhaustion, but also very rapid pulse and breathing, delirium, unconsciousness, and lack of perspiration to cool the body.

Risk factors for heat stroke include: dehydration, age over 65, obesity, having chronic heart or lung disease, and taking medications that interfere with the body’s heat-regulating system.

To prevent a heat illness avoid direct sun from late morning until 4pm. Limit vigorous exercise or chores to early morning or late afternoon. Dress in light colored, loose-fitting clothes.

Continually drink plenty of water or juice, avoid caffeine, and eat light meals. Popsicles, watermelon, cantaloupe, fruit salads and jello all contain a lot of water, and summertime is the perfect time to indulge in such treats when they fit the individual’s dietary requirements.

Never leave anyone (human or animal) attended or unattended in a hot car or van for even a short period of time.

Whenever you or the people you support are in the sun, you need to apply sunscreen. Buy a broad spectrum quality product rated at least SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15 and apply it liberally to all exposed skin at least 15- 30 minutes before going out into the sun and frequently thereafter especially during peak sun hours or after sweating or swimming. Not only will this help prevent sunburn but skin cancer as well.

Too much sun is also a risk factor for cataracts, so use sunglasses that block UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays. And don’t forget your wide brimmed hat

Certain medications (like anticonvulsants, antipsychotics and high blood pressure medications) can cause people to burn more rapidly and more severely.

SOURCE: ( – Dept of Public Health)

To Top