Summer is here and so is the hot weather! “Very high or unusually hot temperatures can lead to sickness or even death, if precautions are not taken,” advises San Joaquin County Public Health Officer, Dr. Alvaro Garza. Most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work, exercise or live outdoors, infants and children, people without adequate air conditioning, and people with a chronic medical condition such as heart or respiratory ailments. Other high risk conditions include obesity, fever, dehydration, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol usage.
Dr. Garza urges everyone to be prepared for sunny, hot weather by considering these necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings. If you do not have air conditioning, go to a friend’s or family member’s house with air conditioning; visit a public place such as a library, shopping mall, or community center. Visit the website and social media of San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services at http://www.sjgov.org/oes/, to find out if there is an air-conditioned shelter that may be open in your area.
- Limit outdoor activity, especially during the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wear sunscreen and shade yourself by using an umbrella or wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat.
- Take cool showers or baths or use moist cloths to lower your body temperature.
- Place a desk fan directly in front of you and use a spray bottle of water to cool yourself.
- Cover windows that receive heat from morning or afternoon sun with curtains, shades, awnings, or louvers (outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent).
- Keep electric lights off or turned down.
- Minimize use of your oven and stove.
- Never leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight, even for a few minutes.
- Drink lots of liquids, especially water, even before feeling thirsty. Avoid alcohol or beverages (including energy drinks) containing high amounts of sugar or caffeine, which can cause dehydration.
- Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
- Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water, too. Stay informed
- Listen to local news and weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes, extreme heat warnings and safety tips so you can plan activities safely when it’s hot outside. Keep your friends, family and neighbors aware of weather and heat safety information, too. Sign up to receive free weather alerts on your phone or e-mails from www.weather.com/mobile.
- Visit the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services website, http://www.sjgov.org/oes/, and social media for up-to-date local information.
- Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household. Have an emergency and communications plan for wherever you spend time—home, work and school (refer to BePreparedCalifornia website at www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov/Pages/Home.aspx).
- Plan ways to look after those who are more vulnerable (e.g. the elderly, young, those living alone or have medical conditions) in your family and neighborhood. Make sure that they are well, cool and hydrated as they are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
- Know the signs/symptoms and first aid response for heat-related illnesses:
|Heath Exhaustion Symptoms
||What You Should Do
||Move to a cooler location.
||Lie down and loosen your clothing.
|Skin cold, pale, and clammy
||Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
|Fainting and vomiting
||If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.
|Heath Stroke Symptoms
||What You Should Do
|High body temperature (above 103F)*
(*104F taken rectally is the most accurate)
|Call 911 immediately - this is a medical emergency.
|Hot, red, dry or moist skin
||Move the person to a cooler environment.
|Rapid and strong pulse
||Reduce the person's body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath.
||Do NOT give fluids.
Additional tips for how to stay safe and what to do during an extreme heat-related emergency are available at the following sites: