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Keep cool this summer at Burlington County libraries

Officials also warn of heat-related illnesses 

By Kevin Callahan

The Sun

Once again, you can beat the summer heat in cooling centers at Burlington County library branches.

“In general, on really hot days, if people don’t have air conditioning at home … we encourage them to visit any of our library branches,” said county information officer David Levinsky. “The other place we encourage them to go is the Moorestown Mall.”

“We’re entering those summer months when high temperatures and humidity can create some really dangerous conditions,” said County Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell, who is also the liaison for the county health department. “Residents need to be aware of the dangers of heat stroke, dehydration and other heat-related illnesses and take the necessary precautions.

“We … also ask folks to check on any elderly relatives or neighbors who may be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses,” he added. “We’re all looking to enjoy a fun-filled summer, so let’s make sure we look after one another and take precautions to avoid any unnecessary tragedies.”

The county health department’s website offers ways that people who suffer heat-related illness (when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded) can treat heat exhaustion. Suggestions include:

  Rest in a cool place. Getting into an air-conditioned building is best, but at the very least, find a shady spot or sit in front of a fan.

Drink cool fluids. Stick to water or sports drinks. Avoid alcoholic beverages and soda that can lead to more dehydration.

Try cooling measures. If possible, take a cool shower, soak in a cool bath, or put towels soaked in cool water on your skin.

Loosen clothing. Remove any unnecessary clothing and make sure your clothes are lightweight and nonbinding.

According to the health department, heat stroke is caused by the  body overheating and unable to cool down. It requires emergency treatment and its symptoms include:

High body temperature of 104

Altered mental states: Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, seizures and coma can all be a result of heat stroke.

Altered sweating: Heat stroke will cause skin to be hot and dry to the touch; heat stroke caused by strenuous exercise will make skin feel moist.

Nausea and vomiting

Flushed skin as temperature increases

Rapid breathing

Racing heart rate and pulse

Headache

Infants, young children and those over 65 are at most risk for heat- related illnesses, along with anyone who has a mental illness and/or is physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at: http://www.cdc.gov/

Here’s the list of Burlington County library branches that serve as cooling locations::

  • Burlington County Library, main branch, 5 Pioneer Blvd.,  Westampton
  • Bordentown Library, 18 East Union St., Bordentown
  • Cinnaminson Library, 1619 Riverton Road, Cinnaminson
  • Evesham Library, 984 Tuckerton Road, Marlton
  • Maple Shade Library, 200 Stiles Ave., Maple Shade
  • Pemberton Library, 16 Broadway St. in Browns Mills
  • Riverton Library, 306 Main St., Riverton

For other help, contact the Burlington County Health Department at (609) 265-5548 or visit the website at www.co.burlington.nj.us/290/Health-Department

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