N.J. health chief offers advice for coping with the heat

    As many schools sent students home early because of the hot weather, New Jersey’s health commissioner was urging residents to take some precautions to prevent heat-related problems.

    State Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd says overdoing it in the heat and humidity can result in heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

    “Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, skin that is cold, pale, and clammy, fainting or vomiting, and a rapid or uneven pulse,” she said. “If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or a family member, you should seek medical attention immediately.”

    O’Dowd recommends reducing physical activity and drinking plenty of water or nonalcoholic beverages. If you don’t have air conditioning, she says you can cool off by visiting a public place such as a shopping mall or library.

    O’Dowd says it’s especially important not to leave kids or pets in a car where the temperature can rapidly climb to dangerous levels.

    She says rising ozone levels can also affect air quality and pose problems for people with asthma. So it’s important to take your medicine with you on these hot days.

    About 1,200 patients each year are treated in New Jersey emergency rooms for heat-related problems.

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