As heat wave sweeps the state, residents try to stay cool

Remember the days when there was snow on the ground and we all were dreaming of summer? Those days seem long gone as a heat wave sweeps the country.

“The heat is unbelievable. We waited so long for this, waited so long for it, and now it’s here and it’s a scorcher,” said Newark resident Rose Elijah.

Temperatures hit the 90s in Newark, where we ran into Elijah and her five-year-old granddaughter, who was searching for a way to cool off. Others got creative.

“We like to go make sure that we check on the elderly, and we have animals ourselves at home. She has three cats, I have a Shih Tzu. We have to make sure they have water and they are in the cool,” said Candy Adams from Belleville.

That’s one of the recommendations from the American Red Cross as temperatures climb: check on animals and make sure they have plenty of cool water. Also check on friends, family or neighbors who don’t have air conditioning. And if you don’t have air conditioning, go to public places like libraries, malls, theaters or designated cooling stations during the warmest parts of the day.

“It’s nice. We can go there, get in the swimming pool, cool off, check on the family, check on the kids, anybody, the dog, the cat. Everybody drink a lot of water,” said Newark resident Cuz McAllister, who was at the John F. Kennedy Aquatic Center in Newark.

“On a warm day like this, up to a half a quart or a liter every hour or so would be very reasonable. Children under the age of of four, of course infants, older people, are more vulnerable, as are people taking certain medications, any type of diuretic and other medications that can make you more sensitive to heat,” said Dr. Dana Thomas, medical director of the NJ Division of Public Health Infrastructure, Laboratories and Emergency Preparedness.

The New Jersey Department of Health says signs of a heat stroke are hot, dry skin, a high body temperature, an absence of sweat and a strong pulse.

If you think you have a heat stroke, immediate call 911, and while you’re waiting move to shade or air conditioning and apply ice to armpits, groin, neck and back or immerse in cold water or ice.

“All heat-related illnesses are a result of our body not being able to cool quickly enough given the environment we’re in,” said Thomas.

More than 600 people in the United States die every year from extreme heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Please people, please, watch your kids and your animals and stuff,” stressed Adams. “Please don’t leave them in the car. They cannot be left in the car. Please.”

The New Jersey Department of Health also recommends wearing loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. An Icee isn’t a bad idea, either.