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News Release

July 20, 2011      

For Further Information Contact:
Dr. Michael C. Caldwell, Commissioner of Health
(845) 486-3432

Stay Safe in Summer Heat

Poughkeepsie... The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat advisory through Saturday, July 23rd and will be upgrading to an excessive heat warning for Thursday and Friday. Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Commissioner of Health Dr. Michael C. Caldwell advise residents to take extra care to prevent suffering from heat-related illness.   

Heat stroke and dehydration are serious heat-related conditions and can be life-threatening.   Heat stroke symptoms include hot, dry skin, shallow breathing, rapid, weak pulse and confusion.   Those suffering from heat stroke should receive immediate medical treatment.

“It is important for residents to take heat conditions seriously and take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses,” said Dr. Caldwell.  “Of particular concern are the elderly, very young children and those with high blood pressure, heart disease or lung conditions. “

The Health Department recommends the following safety tips to prevent against heat-related illnesses.   A complete summer heat safety guide is available on the county website at

  • Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day.

  • Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol fluids. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages.  Avoid caffeine and large amounts of sugar, these can cause your body to lose fluids.   Also, avoid very cold drinks as they can cause stomach cramps.

  • Get out of the heat. Spend more time in air-conditioned places.  If your home is not air-conditioned, spend some time at the local library, shopping mall, grocery store, movie theater or other air-conditioned location.

  • Dress for summer. Lightweight light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps the body maintain normal temperatures.

  • Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation much more difficult for the body.   Wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and put on a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

  • Check on others who may be more vulnerable to the heat.   Very young children need your help to ensure they stay safe in the heat. Take the time to check in on an elderly neighbor who may be have difficulty with the heat conditions.

  • Don’t forget your pets!  If it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your pet as well. Be sure your pet has plenty of cool, fresh water and a shady place to stay out of the heat.

Dutchess County Parks also offer a variety of ways to stay cool in the summer heat.    Wilcox Park in Milan features a lake for swimming and Bowdoin Park in Poughkeepsie features water spray turtles for a refreshing way to cool off.    “Our county parks offer fun ways to beat the heat.  Cool off in the water and then find a shady tree to simply relax under,” said County Executive Steinhaus.

For more information on summer heat safety, county parks and more, visit

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