New York City Health Commissioner: No Cold Beer During Heat Wave

Mary Bassett told New Yorkers to slug water rather than suck down brews as temperatures hover in the 90s.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett today. (Photo: Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office)
Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, with Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. (Photo: Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office)

Mary Bassett, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s commissioner of the Department of Health, told New Yorkers not to crack open a frosty lager or pour themselves a crisp ale in a chilled glass as temperatures flirt with 100 degrees in the city today.

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Appearing beside Mr. de Blasio at the Office of Emergency Management in Brooklyn to inform New Yorkers of the dangers of the heat, Ms. Bassett said city residents should stay in air-conditioned spaces as much as possible, and keep hydrated with pure, healthful water. She warned the perils of alcohol and caffeine, both dehydrating diuretics, for those who must labor in the sun.

“If you work outdoors, we’ve heard how important it is to stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol, caffeine. Water is the best beverage for staying hydrated. Beer is not,” she said.

Also off the table: an ice-cold shower. Ms. Bassett, a former associate professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, warned that a frigid spray could shock an overheated body—and recommended a moderate temperature wash instead.

“You can take a cool shower, not a freezing cold shower, because that may put a, too much of a stress on your system. But a lukewarm shower that you’re not terrified to step into, it’s a good way to cool down,” she said.

She also warned people against taking the opportunity to soak up some rays, or go for a sweaty midday run.

“People need to adjust their activity levels so that they match the weather. This is not the right kind of weather not only not to get a tan, but also not the right weather to engage in strenuous activity,” she said. “Wait til early evening if you want to go jogging or something like that.”

New York City Health Commissioner: No Cold Beer During Heat Wave