Scorching temperatures are expected in Southern California this week as September brings the longest and warmest heat wave of the year so far.
Sweltering heat can increase the risk of heat-related illnesses. Here are some tips to avoid heat-related illnesses and stay safe.
You can monitor the weather forecast for your area by going to the National Weather Service website and searching by city, state or zip code for the latest weather updates and alerts. Follow local officials and authorities on social media for tips and information on available resources in your area. Keep an extreme heat checklist to make sure you are prepared.
Stay indoors and wear light clothing
Officials with the National Weather Service and health departments are advising people to stay indoors as much as possible, especially between 10am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest. If you exercise outdoors, it’s best to do it early in the morning or later in the evening.
If you don’t have air conditioning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend going to a mall or public library. You can also check your county’s website or call your local health department to learn more about refrigeration centers in your area. Other options include taking a cool shower twice a day or even finding a shady yard or park. (UCLA health officials say electric fans won’t prevent heat-related illnesses once temperatures hit the high 90s and beyond.)
What you wear also matters. Officials recommend light-colored, light, loose-fitting clothing when outdoors, along with a wide-brimmed hat. Be sure to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and apply it about 30 minutes before going outside.
According to the CDC, heat-related illnesses can range from heat rash and sunburn to more serious conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and result from the body’s inability to cool itself through sweating. Signs of heat stroke, the most serious heat-related illness, include a temperature of 103 degrees or higher; hot, red, dry, or clammy skin; rapid, strong pulse; Headache; Dizziness; nausea; confusion and unconsciousness. If you have these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. The CDC discourages drinking and recommends moving to a cool place and a cold bath or using a cold cloth.
Signs of heat exhaustion are profuse sweating; cold, pale and clammy skin; a rapid, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps; Fatigue; Dizziness; Headache; and fainting. If you show these symptoms, get out of the sun immediately, find a cool place or cool towels, and drink water. Monitor your symptoms and get help if you vomit, get worse, or last longer than an hour.
Staying hydrated, especially before going outdoors, is crucial to preventing heat-related illnesses. UCLA officials warn against waiting until you’re thirsty. During times of extreme heat, it’s best to drink at least two to four cups of water per hour. (For those who work outdoors, the CDC recommends a cup of water, or 8 ounces, every 15–20 minutes.) Health officials also advise against drinking alcohol during periods of extreme heat, as it leads to dehydration and increases your risk of heat Diseases.
It is also important to replenish the salt and mineral losses that the body loses through sweating with low-sugar fruit juices or sports drinks. Nutritionists also recommend eating foods high in water — think watermelon, celery, and cucumbers — and drinking the right fluids.
Signs of dehydration in adults include extreme thirst; Fatigue; Dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth and/or lips and infrequent urination. Watch out for dry mouth and tongue in infants or young children; no tears when crying; no wet diaper for more than three hours; sunken eyes and cheeks; a sunken tender spot on the head and irritability or listlessness.
(If your doctor puts you on a particular diet or regulates how much water you drink, ask what steps you should take to stay hydrated during heat waves.)
Check the most vulnerable
In addition to taking care of your safety and health, you should also frequently consult with those who are at high risk, including the elderly, children, pregnant women, those without shelter, those who work outdoors, and those without air conditioning. Heat affects your pets too so keep them inside or if they are outside make sure they have plenty of water and a shaded area to keep them cool. Never leave a child or pet in the back seat of a car, as temperatures inside a vehicle can skyrocket, even if the windows are cracked.
To help the homeless, the Los Angeles County Department of Health is proposing donating water, electrolyte packs, light and loose-fitting clothing, tents, towels, and other supplies to local organizations.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-30/how-to-stay-safe-tips-southern-california-heat-wave How to stay safe during Southern California’s heat wave