Cooling centers and ways to avoid heat exhaustion in oppressive heat

Public health workers remind you to stay cool, hydrated and safe in heat.

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – We’ve been waiting for this summer-like weather for months, but with it comes some dangers, especially for the most vulnerable among us. That includes the elderly, the very young, those with heart conditions, thyroid disease or respiratory illnesses.

The City of Springfield announced opening cooling centers across the city for Monday, June 12 and Tuesday, June 13. Click here for times and locations.

22News is working for you with some advice to stay smart and cool in the heat.

We spoke with West Springfield’s Director of Public Health, Jeanne Galloway. She said on days with 90 degree heat and humidity, it’s important to plan your day ahead.

If you’re going for a walk outside, choose to do so in the early morning hours or at night when the temperatures are cooler. If you work outdoors, she recommends taking a break every hour in the shade.

“Can’t say enough about drinking plenty of water. You also need to avoid alcohol and caffeine which both counteract with taking plenty of fluids,” Galloway told 22News.

She said some signs of heat exhaustion include a rapid pulse, excessive sweating and dizziness. You’ll want to tend to this immediately before it turns into heat stroke, which needs medical attention.

In West Springfield, one popular cooling center was the Senior Center. Folks without air conditioning in their homes were finding relief there, while drinking ice cold water.

“They come in here and they mingle in, and it keeps them nice and cool. We keep busy,” said Sandra Slepchuk, a volunteer from West Springfield who also seeks relief from the heat there.

Volunteers for Meals on Wheels were at the West Springfield Senior Center, preparing meals for those who aren’t able to leave their homes. The volunteers said on hot days like this, they check in with the customers to make sure they have ways of staying cool. If not, they’ll find help for them.

“When they come to the door, I take a good look at them. You know, if they’re sweating profusely, I might say something to them,” said Jayne Newirth, a driver for Meals on Wheels in West Springfield.