SUNY Health Warns New Yorkers About Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

July 19, 2019

High Temperatures This Week Prompts More Vigilance About Health Effects of Heat

SUNY Health Emergency Physician Dr. Ninfa Mehta discusses heat exhaustion below.

Albany – SUNY Health officials today urged all New Yorkers to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion as temperatures soar during an extended heat wave across the state this week. This weekend in particular, all SUNY Health facilities and medical staff will be on watch for heat-related illnesses in patients.

"When temperatures are high for an extended period of time, the risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke goes up, especially for the elderly and young babies," said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. "We’re encouraging everyone to seek shelter from the heat and to take measures to stay cool, and if they do notice symptoms of heat-related illnesses, they should take steps to cool down or seek medical care."

"With this extremely hot weather, everyone is vulnerable to heat exhaustion, especially if they are spending a lot of time outdoors, engaged in physical activity" said Ricardo Azziz, MD, SUNY’s chief officer of academic health and hospital affairs. "High temperatures are a serious health risk that can be deadly. We urge everyone to remember that symptoms of heat exhaustion can arise quite suddenly, so it’s important to drink lots of water, avoid unnecessary sun exposure, and take advantage of air conditioned when possible."

Heat exhaustion is a condition characterized by heavy sweating, clammy skin, nausea and vomiting, and a fast pulse. It may also cause fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headaches, and fainting. People experiencing heat exhaustion should stop all activity, move to a cool place, and consume cool beverages such as water and sports drinks. If symptoms do not subside after an hour in air conditioning and drinking fluids, the individual needs to seek medical attention.

Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which causes body temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, hot skin, a rapid pulse, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that warrants a 9-1-1 call.

According to Dr. Ninfa Mehta, an emergency room physician at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, you can prevent heat-related illness by wearing loose-fitting clothing, drinking fluids, taking precautions against sunburn, and limiting outdoor activity in the heat. People who take medications that cause dehydration such as those for high blood pressure, heart disease, and psychiatric disorders should take extra precautions to stay cool and hydrated.

About SUNY Health

SUNY Health encompasses four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, the state’s only college of optometry, and 25 other campuses dedicated to health professions and services. Together, SUNY Health graduates more than 10,000 health professionals every year, including one of every three medical school graduates, one of every three nursing graduates, and one of every five dentists in the state. SUNY Health serves more than 1.3 million patients a year and produces groundbreaking biomedical and health sciences research and innovation. We play a critical role in creating the future of healthcare and medicine in New York State, across the country, and around the world.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this press release is not intended to serve as or replace the advice of medical providers. The views and opinions expressed in this press release or in commentary by faculty to news media are based on the faculty member’s medical training, scholarship and/or research. They do not represent the official positions of the State University of New York nor the institution where faculty are employed.


About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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