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Summer Comes Early to the South Shore

Local medical officials offer suggestions on dealing with warm temperatures.

A late spring heat wave that is driving temperatures into the mid-90s this week is forcing residents to quickly adapt to summer-like temperatures.

With highs across Long Island approaching 90 degrees today, the forecast for Thursday calls for temperatures to hit 95 degrees, according to Weather.com. The outlook for the weekend calls for a break in the heat with temperatures in the 70s and rain.

As a result of the current heat and stagnant air, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an ozone health advisory for the Long Island Region.

Dr. James Tomarken, commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Health, said that young children, the elderly, those that work outdoors and those with pre-existing respiratory and heart problems should limit outdoor activities during the period of high temperatures and when ozone levels are elevated.

Adhi Sharma, MD, chairman of Emergency Services at in West Islip, echoed Tomarken when it comes to the precautions needed for the young and elderly.

“It’s best not to be outdoors for long periods of time during the day, particularly between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.,” Sharma said. “The elderly without air conditioning at home can find comfort at places such as the public library.”

He noted that the sudden change in temperatures can also prove to be challenging for those who work outside or who have pre-existing health issues.

“The body doesn’t get a chance to become acclimated to the warmer weather,” Sharma explained. “It’s important for these folks to increase their fluid intake and also rest more often when outdoors.”

Other tips for dealing with the heat offered by Sharma include:

• Exercising early in the day, before 7 a.m., or later in the day, after 7 p.m.

• Avoiding strenuous activity, with heat indexes well above 90 degrees.

• Drinking plenty of fluids and taking breaks often when working or playing outside in the hot weather.

• Wearing lightweight and light-colored clothing; hats and umbrellas are also a good idea.

• Getting plenty of rest, and always paying attention to the body’s signs of distress.

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