Submitted by Health Department
As of July 26th, the National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for Thursday, July 27th and Friday, July 28th with a likely extension through Saturday, July 29th. Temperatures are projected to be upwards of 90-95℉ with possibility of severe thunderstorms Thursday evening. Extreme heat is a prolonged period of very hot weather, which may include high humidity. In Massachusetts, a “heat wave” is usually defined as a period of three or more consecutive days above 90°F. Hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat illness if you are not careful. With this forecast, please be mindful of ways to prevent heat related illness and stay safe. In light of this weather, some tip on how to stay safe are included below.
Be Prepared for Stormy Weather:
Check the weather forecast regular for any updates or emergency alerts. Create an emergency plan with your family in case of severe storms and designate a “safe room in your residence”. Use the Ready.gov website to create a plan: https://www.ready.gov/plan! A safe room should be in the lowest level of your building and have as few windows as possible. It is also important to secure any loose objects around your yard to prevent them from becoming airborne during high winds. Keep a stockpile of non-perishable food and water handy in case of emergency. Additionally, keep any needed medications and a first aid kit in an accessible location.
Drink Plenty of Fluids:
During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink (Note: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot). Popsicles, watermelon, cantaloupe, fruit salads and Jell-O all contain a lot of water and summertime is the perfect time to indulge in such treats. Avoid caffeine and alcohol whenever possible and bring plenty of water to outdoor activities!
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen to Prevent Sunburns:
Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Use broad spectrum sunscreens with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) value of 15 or higher regularly to protect against UVA & UVB rays. Apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed skin at least 30-60 minutes before going out into the sun. Re-apply at least every two hours or more often if you are swimming or sweating. Consult with a health care professional before applying sunscreen to infants younger than 6 months.
Stay Cool Indoors:
Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned area. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider other locations that may have air conditioning
The Bedford Public Library – 7 Mudge Way, Bedford 01730
- Monday –Thursday, 9am to 9pm, Friday, 9am to 6pm, Saturday, 9am to 5pm
The Bedford Council on Aging – 12 Mudge Way, Bedford 01730
- Monday – Friday, 8am to 4pm, Saturday, 10am to 3pm
The Burlington Mall – 75 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington 01803
- Monday – Thursday, 10am to 8pm, Friday – Saturday, 10am to 9pm, Sunday, 11am to 6pm
Monitor Those at High Risk for Heat-Related Illness:
Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.
- Those 65 years of age or older, or those with pre-existing medical conditions, may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and response to change in temperature.
- Make daily visits to older relatives or neighbors. Remind them to stay hydrated and offer to help with transportation to cooler air-conditioned locations.
- Infants and children up to four years of age are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids.
- Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20°F within 10 minutes.
- Remember to check on your neighbors and those who may have difficulty preparing for extreme heat.
Heat Illness Questions and Answers:
What are Heat Cramps?
Heat Cramps are muscular pains and spasms that cause heavy sweating and 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.
What is Heat Exhaustion?
Heat Exhaustion has many symptoms such as fever, heavy sweating, fainting, rapid pulse, low blood pressure, clammy skin, ashen skin tone and nausea. Overexertion and not drinking enough water are 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.
What is Heat Stroke?
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.
Heat illness may become a medical emergency. Contact your medical provider or emergency medical services if symptoms are not improving.
Bedford Springs Brooks Park (SBP) Reminder:
SBP is a great way to enjoy the summer heat with family and friends! SBP offers a bathing beach, spray park, playground, shade structures, picnic areas, and games! The Park is open now through August 12th and hours of operation are Tues – Wed 12:00pm – 5:00pm, Thurs – Fri 12pm – 7pm, Sat 11am – 5pm (Closed Sunday and Monday). For current membership information and pricing visit the Bedford Recreation Department’s page at the link below!
Additional Tips to Prevent Heat Illness:
- Avoid direct sun exposure from 10am-2pm, when the sun is the strongest.
- Limit vigorous exercise or chores to early morning or late afternoon.
- Slow down and avoid strenuous activity.
- Dress in light colored, loose-fitting clothes.
- Drink plenty of water, non-caffeinated fluid, and well-balanced, light, regular meals.
- When possible, stay indoors and in air conditioning. Do not leave pets outside for extended periods of time.
For additional information, please contact the Bedford Health Department at 781-275-6507 or visit https://www.bedfordma.gov/health-department. You may also visit the CDC website on extreme heat at: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website on extreme heat safety tips at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/extreme-heat-safety-tips