Residents are encouraged to take measures to stay hydrated and as cool as possible during this stretch of summer heat.

Freeholder Patricia L. Walsh, public health and safety liaison; Freeholder Brian D. Levine, human services liaison; and the Somerset County Department of Health want to share the following tips for preventing heat-related illness:

Keep cool; stay indoors during the hottest times of the day, seek air-conditioned locations, such as libraries and malls; take cool showers or baths; limit outdoor activities to the morning and evening hours; avoid direct sunlight; wear loose, light-colored clothing; and use a shade hat or an umbrella to block the sun.

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Drink plenty of fluids to replace what you lose through sweat. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink; avoid alcohol, caffeinated beverages and sugary drinks; bring a beverage with you to sip frequently when outdoors.

 If you have a health condition that requires that you limit fluids, talk with your doctor about your particular situation. Be aware that some medications can increase sensitivity to the heat. Unless directed by a health care professional, do not take salt tablets or use products that may interfere with your medications or adversely affect your medical condition. Always check with your doctor and/or pharmacist.

Individuals age 65 and older are more prone to heat stress than younger people because they are not able to adjust to temperature changes as well. Adult seniors also are more likely to have a medical condition or take medications that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.

Those who live alone should ask a friend or caregiver to check on them during a heat wave and look for signs of heat-related illness. If no one is available, contact the county Office on Aging and Disability Services to register for the Telephone Reassurance Program.

The county Telephone Reassurance Program is a free service that offers a daily phone call by trained staff to people who live alone and feel isolated from the community due to age, health problems or living arrangements. Knowing that someone will call each day to check on an individual’s safety and well-being provides a sense of reassurance and security. The program also helps older adults by providing information and assistance for services that will help to enhance their quality of life.

For those seeking to escape the heat, the Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents age 60 and above to enjoy the six air-conditioned facilities operated by the county Office on Aging and Disability Services.  The centers offer cool respite and a variety of educational, recreational and entertaining activities.  (See list of senior centers and hours of operation below.)

 It is beneficial to recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke in yourself and others.  Symptoms include muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. If you see someone with signs of overheating, move the person to a cooler location, have them rest for a few minutes and then have them slowly drink a cool beverage. Get immediate medical attention if they do not feel better.

Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can cause death or permanent disability unless treated immediately. Symptoms of heat stroke include an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F); red, hot, dry skin; a rapid, strong pulse; nausea, confusion and unconsciousness. If you think someone has heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately, and begin cooling them down, as you would for heat exhaustion.

 Be sure to check on family, friends and neighbors who are at high risk. Never ever leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car during periods of intense summer heat. Older adults, young children and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at higher risk for heat-related illness. Young and healthy individuals also are at risk if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.

For more information on what you can do to prevent heat-related illness, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/  or https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/older-adults-heat.html ; or visit Ready.Gov at https://www.ready.gov/heat or the Somerset County Health Department web page at: https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/home/showdocument?id=29610.

Somerset County Senior Centers: For more information, contact one of the centers listed below or call the Somerset County Office on Aging & Disability Services toll free at 1-888-747-1122.

Senior Wellness Center at Basking Ridge

202 Mt. Airy Road, Basking Ridge

Kristen Grieco at (908) 204-3435

Hours: Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Senior Wellness Center at Bridgewater

876 E. Main Street

Bridgewater, NJ 08807

Lisa Carra at 908-2-3-6101

Hours: Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Senior Wellness Center at Hillsborough

339 South Branch Road, Hillsborough

Janet Timari at (908) 369-8700

Hours: Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

Montgomery Senior Center

356 Skillman Road, Skillman

Denise Crowley at (609) 466-0846

Hours: Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Quail Brook Senior Center

625 New Brunswick Road, Somerset

Allyson Toth at (732) 563-4213

Hours: Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Warrenbrook Senior Center

500 Warrenville Road, Warren

Gwen Chalker at (908) 753-9440

Hours: Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.