As reported by the New Haven Register, June 25, 2005.

Today’s Weather Could be Hazardous to Your Health

By Abram Katz

All we need to complete the weather scene today are sulfurous lakes of fire and a red guy with hooves and a pitchfork.

Dangerously high temperatures and humidity will smother Connecticut today as the second heat wave of summer simmers over the Northeast.

Unhealthful levels of smog are also expected as the sun cooks car exhaust into thick, soupy ozone.

Doctors warned Friday that the very young, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases are at a high risk for heat-related illnesses.

However, that doesn’t mean everyone else should ignore the temperature.

Dr. Mark Metersky, critical care physician at the University of Connecticut Health Center, said everyone should guard against heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

"It’s a serious time to educate people. We’re all at risk today," said Cynthia Lord, director of the physician assistant program at Quinnipiac University.

Restrict outdoor exertion to early morning and late afternoon and make sure you remain adequately hydrated, she said.

Monitor elderly relatives and friends and make sure they are cool and drinking enough fluids.

Humidity and temperature will make fans almost useless over the weekend, so if necessary, take elderly people to movies, malls, and other air-conditioned places, Lord said.

Babies and young children are also at risk. So are people with chronic heart and lung diseases, or high blood pressure, she said.

Lord said people should consume two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic liquid every hour if they are exercising outside.

"The elderly and chronically ill may not realize that they can get into trouble without exertion," Metersky said.

Drugs such as diuretics, some heart and blood pressure medications, or salt-restricted diets could all interfere with the body’s cooling mechanism, he said.

Under usual conditions the body perspires water and salt, which evaporates, causing cooling.

If water is not replaced, blood pressure can drop, which places an extra strain on the heart.

The initial sign of dehydration is arm, leg and belly cramps, Lord said.

Resting and consuming a sports drink should restore equilibrium.

Ignore the cramps and you might become light-headed and could faint.

Go inside, lie down, and consume fluids.

Here’s where heat gets serious.

Profuse sweating, headache, nausea and a racing heart are symptoms of heat exhaustion. Go to a hospital.

After that, comes confusion, peculiar behavior, faintness, stumbling, strong rapid pulse and dry, flushed skin. Call 911.

This is heat stroke, which can lead to seizures, coma and death.

Temperatures will moderate next week as the Bermuda high weakens, said John Murray of the National Weather Service.

The clockwise system is responsible for blowing hot southern air north.

Next week will be a bit cooler with highs in the low to mid-80s.

Searing sun heats the earth and destabilizes the atmosphere, creating the possibility of late afternoon or evening showers and thunderstorms through next week, Murray said.