Last Update: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Be Safe As Temperatures Soar PDF Print E-mail
Written by City News Service and Sun Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 15 May 2014 01:39

With record temperatures of 100 degrees or more expected most of this week, public health officials are warning people to be on guard for dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

"We are reminding residents to be safe and take precautions to protect themselves, especially while participating in outdoor activities,'' said Dr. Mitchell Kushner, public health officer.

"Infants and very young children, older adults and people with chronic illness are at an increased risk'' for heat-related ailments, Kushner said. Kushner urged people to avoid strenuous exercise during the heat of the day and suggested athletic coaches take the heat into consideration when organizing workouts.

Around swimming pools, adults should keep an eye on children at all times, and anyone in charge of children should know the signs of heat exhaustion, which include profuse sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea, vomiting, paleness and dizziness.

Pets should be provided with plenty of water and should not be left in cars, even with windows cracked, Kusher said, because temperatures in a semi- enclosed vehicle can rise well beyond the outside temperature.

Anyone suffering from heat exhaustion should be moved to a cooler place and given water to sip, Kushner said, adding that their feet should be elevated about a foot. A wet towel also can be used to help cool heat-exhaustion victims.

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to a more serious heat stroke, which can cause brain damage, he said. Warning signs include a throbbing headache, hot and dry skin, a rapid pulse, a body temperature of 103 degrees or above; and dizziness, nausea or confusion. Medical help should be summoned for anyone suffering from heat stroke by calling 911.

To help stay cool and healthy, it's also recommended:

✔ staying hydrated by drinking water before, during and after outdoor activities;

✔ avoiding beverages containing caffeine or alcohol;

✔ taking frequent breaks while working or playing outdoors;

✔ planning strenuous outdoor activities for mornings or evenings;

✔ wearing loose clothing and a wide-brimmed hat while outside;

✔ applying sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 about 15 minutes before going outside and re-apply it at least every two hours;

✔ wearing sunglasses that block all UVA and UVB rays, because chronic exposure can cause cataracts;

✔ seeking air conditioning in libraries, stores, malls or theaters if it is unavailable at home;

✔ checking on frail, elderly or home-bound people; and

✔ moving to a cooler place at the first sign of heat illness, such as dizziness, nausea, headaches and muscle cramps

Protect Your Home

Glenn Barley, a forester with Cal Fire, urged people to be especially careful to prevent wildfires over the next few days.

"We can take steps to prevent those fires by folks out there being very careful any time they're out working with equipment; if they're out camping, by being in an approved campsite with an approved campfire in a ring and that they're using proper cooking devices," he said.

State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones suggested home and business owners make sure they have enough insurance to get them back on their feet after fire.

"Sometimes no matter what you do to prevent fire damage, the fire's too big, too destructive, and even the valiant efforts of the firefighters behind us here sometimes cannot save our homes from damage and destruction," he said.

"For those reasons, it's absolutely essential that residents and business owners prepare, making sure they have enough insurance to rebuild and make sure their families can get back on their feet."