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A heat advisory is in effect from 11 a.m. tomorrow until 8 p.m. Friday. Temperatures will reach about 90 degrees both days, but combined with high humidity, heat index values will soar to the upper 90s, according to the National Weather Service.

The Riverhead Town Senior Center will be open as a cooling center tomorrow and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar announced this afternoon. The senior center is located at 60 Shade Tree Lane in Aquebogue.

Residents are urged to limit outdoor activity in the heat of the day, and to check on vulnerable family, friends and neighbors, the supervisor said in an advisory. Make sure pets are kept in the shade and have adequate water, the advisory said.

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, the New York State Health Department said in a press release this afternoon, even though heat-related deaths and illness are preventable.

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Hot, dry, red skin
  • A rapid pulse
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • A body temperature higher than 105 degrees
  • Loss of alertness, confusion, and/or loss of consciousness

The health department urges residents to take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion:

  • Reduce strenuous activities and exercises, especially during peak sunlight hours.
  • Exercise should be conducted early in the morning, before 7 a.m.
  • Eat less protein and more fruits and vegetables. Protein produces and increases metabolic heat, which causes water loss. Eat small meals but eat more often. Do not eat salty foods.
  • Drink at least two to four glasses of water per hour during extreme heat, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
  • If possible, stay out of the sun and stay in air conditioning. The sun heats the inner core of your body, resulting in dehydration. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine, or go to a public building with air conditioning.
  • If you must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head.
  • When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn and over-warming effects of sunlight on your body.

Never leave children, pets or those who require special care in a parked vehicle, especially during periods of intense summer heat. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach over 140° Fahrenheit quickly. Exposure to such high temperatures can kill within a matter of minutes.

Prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful and potentially fatal. Call 911 if you or someone you know shows signs or symptoms of heat illness, including headache, light headedness, muscle cramps, nausea, and vomiting.

A drought watch is in effect for 21 New York counties, including Suffolk. The State Department of Environmental Conservation is asking New Yorkers to conserve water whenever possible during the coming weeks. For water-saving tips, visit DEC’s webpage at dec.ny.gov/lands/5009.html.

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