During these days of withering heat the 250 nurses of the Henry Street Settlement, far from relaxing, find their burden greatly increased. Perhaps even more than the city’s police officers and ambulance crews, they relieve suffering from the heat as part of their day’s work. Reports resulting from their 1,500 daily visits to tenements, rooming houses and private homes where reduced incomes and long illness have made it impossible to pay for full time nursing care reveal more heat cases than in any other year within the organization’s experience.
A visit to one of the settlement’s district offices found the nurses just coming in to report and to receive their afternoon assignments. Broiling sun and an overindulgence in the fruit ices of the street vendors had proven too much for several small children. A charwoman had come home from her work in an overheated office building to collapse in her still warmer flat. Over on the waterfront a baby had just been born aboard a barge.
Children seem to be most easily upset by extreme heat. Normally forty-seven per cent. of the visiting nurses’ time is devoted to their ailments. It is particularly important to teach parents to watch the youngsters’ diets, to keep them out of the mid-day sun, and to limit the hours spent under street showers and in wading pools. These tasks of instruction and relief the nurses fulfill in cooperation with the city’s hospitals and private physicians through the sweltering days.