Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), warns Californians to protect themselves against heat related illness as parts of the state are expected to experience some of the hottest weather since the extreme heat of 2006. The National Weather Service predicts that California’s excessive heat wave will continue for the next several days.
“Illnesses due to prolonged exposure to extreme heat can be very serious, especially in the elderly and young,” Chapman said. “It's important to drink lots of water, keep cool and take other precautions when temperatures rise.”
Warning signs of heat exhaustion vary, but may include: heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea or vomiting, paleness, tiredness or dizziness.
Chapman said people can prevent heat-related illnesses by following these helpful tips to stay cool this summer.
• Reduce exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest, and keep physical activities to a minimum during that time. When working outside, drink plenty of water or juice even if you are not thirsty, and take rest breaks in the shade.
• Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover the face and neck, and wear loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and to protect your skin from the sun and mosquitoes.
• Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Chronic exposure to the sun can cause cataracts, which left untreated, can lead to blindness.
• Liberally apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) 15 minutes before venturing outdoors and re-apply at least every two hours – sunscreen prevents skin cancer, the number one cancer affecting Californians. Sunscreen also prevents premature aging.
• Never, EVER leave infants, children or frail elderly unattended in a parked car – it can take as little as 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise to levels that can kill.
• To prevent overheating, use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths. Get medical attention if you experience a rapid, strong pulse, feel delirious, or have a body temperature above 102.
For more information, go to CDPH’s Preventing Summer Heat Injuries page.