Young people tend to be more active and require more water, he said. The elderly are especially vulnerable to the heat and often don’t drink enough water to stay hydrated, he said.
“They don’t realize how hot it is and how hot they are,” Scott said. “They can get real sick really quickly.”
It’s perhaps no coincidence that many of the state’s cooling centers happen to be senior citizen centers.
They include the Ingram Senior Center in Salem, the Atkinson Senior Center and the Pelham Senior Center, according to the Governor’s Commission on Disability.
The Marion Gerrish Community Center in Derry, which hosts many senior citizen activities, is also on that list.
Yesterday, a group of 20 senior citizens escaped the heat by sitting down to a special Western-style lunch and playing bingo.
Richard Child, 77, of Derry was just happy to get inside where it was cool.
“It’s uncomfortable,” he said.
Many seniors have avoided the heat this week by going to the Ingram Senior Center, director Patti Drelick said.
About 300 seniors stop off at the center each day, she said. Drelick said she bought 20 cases of bottled water on Tuesday to make sure the center was well stocked.
“Some of the people who come here regularly stay a little bit longer because of the heat,” she said.
Public libraries also have been listed as cooling centers. They include Leach Library in Londonderry and Plaistow Public Library.
The Plaistow library’s website tells patrons: “Beat the heat in a comfy chair with a good book, free wi-fi, water and AC!”
For those are out in the heat, McNulty recommends they avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol. She also said people should avoid strenuous physical and outdoor activities, wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing, and use sunblock.