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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.|
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Summer heat has arrived in New Jersey and with it comes the risk of adverse health effects for residents of all ages. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reminds people to take precautions to ensure a safe, healthy and fun summer season.
"Summer heat means taking special care to protect ourselves and loved ones from the risk of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, sunstroke and other physical damage due to dehydration or salt depletion," said DHSS Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs. M.D., J.D.
Heatstroke occurs when the body loses the ability to cool itself. People can go from appearing normal to extremely ill in a matter of minutes. They may develop a high body temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, very hot and dry skin, a rapid and strong pulse, and may become delirious or unconscious. Persons suffering from heatstroke need immediate medical attention.
Heat exhaustion is a milder illness that may take several days of high temperatures to develop. It occurs when the body's water and salts lost through perspiration are not adequately replaced. Victims may have pale, clammy skin and sweat profusely. They may feel tired, weak or dizzy and have headaches or sometimes cramps, but their body temperature will remain close to normal. Heat exhaustion can be severe enough to require hospitalization
During hotter summers, as many as 170 people are admitted to hospitals in New Jersey due to heat overexposure, and many more have to be treated in emergency departments or at home. Most summers see fewer than five people dying from excessive heat, but a very hot summer can mean an increase in deaths, especially for very vulnerable populations including the elderly and young children. In 1999 New Jersey saw 30 deaths due to excessive heat, and in 2002 another 18.
However, with proper precautions it is very easy to identify symptoms, protect oneself and beat the heat. DHSS recommends the following actions for all New Jersey residents:
More information on summer heat and protecting yourself and your family from related illnesses can be found on the DHSS website at http://nj.gov/health/chs/monthlyfactsheets/may05heat.pdf .
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360