PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 18, 2018

Shereef Elnahal

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

NJ Department of Health Officials Encourage Residents to Avoid Dangers of Extreme Heat

With summer approaching and temperatures expected to rise into the 90s today, the New Jersey Department of Health is encouraging residents to take steps to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 

"It is very important to drink plenty of fluids, spend time in cool places and reduce or reschedule any physical activity in extremely hot weather, especially for senior citizens, children and those with chronic conditions,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. “Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can cause heat stroke and death, especially in people who take certain medications.”

To avoid health complications from excessive heat:

  • Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Make sure children and the elderly are drinking water and ensure that persons with mobility problems have adequate fluids in easy reach.
  • Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, spend time in air-conditioned places such as libraries, movies, malls or other public buildings during the hottest hours of the day. Check with your municipality to see if cooling centers are available.
  • Wear loose and light-colored clothing. Wear a hat when outdoors.
  • Avoid any outdoor activity during the hottest hours of the day. Reduce physical activity or reschedule it for cooler times of the day (early morning or evening).
  • Don't leave children, a frail elderly or disabled person, or pets in an enclosed car – not even for a minute – as temperatures can quickly climb to dangerous levels.
  • Talk to your health care provider about any medicine or drugs you are taking. Certain medications – such as tranquilizers and drugs used to treat Parkinson's disease – can increase the risk of heat-related illness.

People suffering heatstroke can go from appearing normal to extremely ill in a matter of minutes.  Victims may have hot, dry skin, a high body temperature of 106 degrees or more, an absence of sweat, and a rapid and strong pulse.  Victims 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. 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. 

People on medication-assisted treatment should not stop taking their medications before contacting the provider who prescribed them but should take precautions that can save their lives.


If heat stroke is suspected, immediately call 911 or get to a hospital. While waiting for help, move the person into air conditioning or shade, remove unnecessary clothing, wet the person with cool water, apply ice to armpits, groin, neck and back or immerse in cold water or ice.


For information about cooling centers set up in the state, please call your local municipality or visit: https://www.nj211.org/index.php/nj-cooling-centers

Follow New Jersey Health Commissioner Elnahal on Twitter.

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Last Reviewed: 6/18/2018