OSWEGO COUNTY — As weather forecasts show a heat wave descending on central New York and likely to persist through Saturday, Oswego County officials are advising residents and visitors to take precautions and limit exposure that could lead to heat-related illnesses.
The regional office of the National Weather Service (NWS), located in Buffalo, has issued a warning that temperatures up to 107 degrees could be in store over the next three days.
County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang advised county residents to be on high alert for symptoms of distress.
"People should be aware of the warning signs of heat-related illness and take special care of individuals at risk," Huang said in a release noting that elderly residents and children have a higher risk of suffering from heat-related health complications. “People may suffer a heat-related illness when their bodies can't cool themselves. The body normally cools itself by sweating. When humidity levels are high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly."
Common symptoms of heat-related illnesses include as headaches, heavy sweating, chills, dizziness, muscle cramps and nausea as some potential signs of heat exhaustion.
People experiencing warm and dry skin, strong and rapid pulse, a high fever, nausea and severe headaches are encouraged to request emergency services as these could be potential signs of heat stroke.
"It's important to protect yourselves, your loved ones, and your pets from the effects of excessive heat," Director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office Dale Currier said. "Anyone who experiences serious signs and symptoms of heat-related illness should seek medical care immediately or call 911 to get emergency medical services help.”
The Oswego County Humane Society also issued an advisory Thursday warning pet owners of potential hazards to furry friends that may arise from high temperatures.
The organization urges people to never leave pets in a parked car, even if there is ongoing, proper ventilation, as pets could potentially perish or suffer severe internal damage.
"It's important to remember that it's not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet," said Dr. Barry Kellogg from the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
A dog’s temperature, should “not be allowed to get over 104 degrees,” according to the Oswego County Humane Society.
Scorching hot asphalt is also hazardous for pets as it can burn their paws. The humane society advises pet owners to walk their pets on grass instead, along with providing them with appropriate food and water supplies. If a surface is too hot for bare feet, it’s too hot for pets, officials said.
Cardiology experts with the American Heart Association (ACA) also warned central New Yorkers of the increasing risks of suffering cardiovascular health complications due to soaring temperatures.
The ACA cites heat exhaustion and heat stroke as two of the potential illnesses that may arise. The association recommends a heavy does of both hydration and common sense.
The ACA also recommends proper attire, citing well-ventilated shoes and light weight, light-colored clothing as recommended apparel.
“It’s best to avoid the outdoors in the early afternoon (about noon to 3 p.m.) because the sun is usually at its strongest, putting you at higher risk for heat-related illnesses,” the ACA said in a press release Thursday.
Proper hydration, according to the ACA, entails drinking a few cups of water before any physical activity and staying clear of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.