Mass. Nonprofits Offer Advice In Response to Heat Wave
Temperatures across Massachusetts are expected to be in the mid-to-high 90s today, tomorrow, and possibly through Thursday. The National Weather Service (NWS) in Boston/Norton issued an excessive heat warning until 9 p.m. today with a heat index as high as 107.
A heat wave is defined as three or more consecutive days with temperatures above 90 degrees.
Several school districtsHaverhill, Lawrence, Lowell, Medford, and Springfieldannounced early dismissals this week. Holyoke Public Schools delayed the opening of the school year by two days until Thursday and cancelled all athletic events.
Ethos, a Boston nonprofit that provides home care, healthy aging, nutrition, and other services, in a statement issued today noted that heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness, and advised, "Drink plenty of fluids, wear loose fitting clothing, and avoid outdoor physical activity."
Check with your local authorities or call 2-1-1 to find locations of cooling centers or shelters near you. Mass 2-1-1 was created and is staffed by the United Way, a service to connect callers to information about critical health and human services programs.
Two of the best tips I can offer, if at all possible, is to stay out of the heat and take it slow and easy with athletic activity and working outdoors, said Dr. Gerald Beltran, emergency medicine physician at Baystate Health, a nonprofit health care system based in Springfield that serves 800,000 people.
He noted that people at greatest risk for developing a heat-related illness are children under 5 and people 65 years of age and older, who have the least ability to regulate their body temperatures, as well as those who work outdoors for a living. Overweight people and others with chronic illnesses such as heart disease or high blood pressure, as well as those on certain medications, are also at high risk.
To keep cool, Baystate Health advises: