We have just released a DOHMH Advisory concerning free air conditioners for New York City residents. It is available on the HAN home page, is appended to this email, and is also attached as a pdf file. To read the attachment, you will need the Adobe reader. If you do not have that software, it can be downloaded at no cost at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.
To access the HAN, for this alert and many related documents, go to http://dohmhport/sites/NYCHAN/WebPages/home.aspx. For external access go to https://a816-health29ssl.nyc.gov/sites/NYCHAN/WebPages/home.aspx. If you have any questions or problems with accessing or using the HAN website, call 1-888-NYCMED9 or write to email@example.com.
FREE AIR CONDITIONERS FOR NEW YORK CITY RESIDENTS AT HIGH RISK OF HEAT ILLNESS
• Seniors and those with chronic physical or mental illness are at increased risk for heat related illness and death. Air conditioning is protective.
• Encourage low-income patients over 65 years of age or those with chronic physical or mental health conditions to apply for a free air conditioner.
• Document patient’s medical need and risk for heat-related illness to include with the application.
• In addition, patients are required to submit a health care provider’s note affirming that the patient’s health condition increases the risk for heat-related illness.
• Complete information about the program and the application can be obtained by calling the NYS HEAP Hotline at 1-800-342-3009 or 311.
• Alternatively, you can refer patients to the following borough-specific weatherization groups. These are the phone numbers listed for each borough (in bold):
o Brooklyn –– (718) 638-5705
o Bronx –– (718) 299-0500
o Manhattan –– (212) 822- 8340
o Queens –– (718) 784- 1444 Ext 179Hot weather can exacerbate chronic medical conditions, leading to severe complications and death. Extreme heat events kill more Americans each year on average than all other natural disasters combined.Individuals at greatest risk include:
• Adults ≥ 65 years of age
• People dependent on others for their basic needs due to debilitating physical or mental health conditions
• People with chronic health conditions including:
o Cardiovascular, respiratory, or renal disease
o Obesity (BMI > 30)
o Psychiatric illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
o Substance use disorders
o Cognitive disability
o Social isolation or limited mobility
o Those taking medications that can impede thermoregulation, including the following drug classes:
Of particular concern are individuals with any of the above health conditions and who don’t have air conditioning in their home.
Heat Related Mortality is Preventable
Air conditioning is the most important way to protect at-risk patients on hot days.
• Be alert to the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness or exacerbation of chronic medical conditions such as heart disease.
• Provide anticipatory guidance to patients and caregivers at visits prior to and during the summer season.
o Advise at-risk patients to use their air conditioner or go to a place with air conditioning. To find a cooling center in New York City during heat waves, call 311 or go to www.nyc.gov/oem.
o For air conditioners with a thermostat, a setting of 78°F is recommended to provide comfort while not wasting energy.
o Give recommendations to patients with health conditions or who take medications that can interfere with fluid balance or thermoregulation about self-monitoring (e.g. using bodyweight measurement to monitor hydration).