4th heat-related death recorded in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Authorities say a fourth heat-related death has been recorded in Philadelphia during the current heat wave.

A spokesman for the city medical examiner's office said Sunday that heat was a factor in the death of a 72-year-old west Philadelphia man whose other conditions included diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Officials earlier said heat was a factor in the death of a 59-year-old north Philadelphia man, a 67-year-old north Philadelphia woman and an 82-year-old northeast Philadelphia woman.

In addition to those four deaths during the current heat wave, there have been four other heat-related deaths this year.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the city until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, in collaboration with the with city's health department extended the hours of its Heatline: 215-765-9040. The hours are now Sunday night until midnight, Monday 8:30am until midnight, and Tuesday 8:30am to 6pm.

A trained staff including nurses will help callers of all ages about precautions to take and detecting signs of heat stress. Mobile health department relief teams will respond to situations requiring intervention, and 911 will be called for emergencies.

Neighbors, friends and relatives are urged to look in on the elderly, who may be especially vulnerable to the heat. The elderly, individuals with chronic medical conditions, those on medication, and persons who live alone and receive few visitors are encouraged to call PCA's Heatline for advice on coping with the heat. Also, people may call on behalf of someone else who may be at risk.

The Heatline is a non-emergency phone service and not a fan or air conditioner distribution site, but staff can recommend air-conditioned locations and year-round senior services.

The Department of Public Health recommends that to avoid heat-related illnesses:
Try not to work or play in hot areas. If unavoidable, wear a head covering. A wide-brimmed hat or visor will protect both your head and your eyes.
Use air conditioners and fans. Open windows to release trapped hot air.
Consult your doctor if you take regular medication. Some medications cause an adverse reaction in hot weather.
Wear lightweight clothing.
Drink lots of non-alcoholic liquids -- warm or cool -- to prevent dehydration because our bodies lose fluids in the heat lots of liquid.
Maintain a normal diet.
Shower or bathe in water near skin temperature.

Early warning signs of heat stress are decreased energy, slight loss of appetite, faintness, light-headedness and nausea. People experiencing those symptoms should go to a cool environment, drink fluids, remove excess clothing, and rest.

Serious signs include unconsciousness, rapid heartbeat, throbbing headache, dry skin, chest pain, mental confusion, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, staggering, and difficulty breathing. People with those symptoms should get immediate medical attention. While waiting for help move the person to a cool area, remove excess clothing, spray with water, and fan the person. In an emergency, dial 911.

It'll be late week when temperatures will finally stay in the 80s.

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