Health

Residents Urged to Take Precautions in Excessive Heat

sun

With high temperatures expected to hover around 120 degrees in eastern San Diego County desert areas through the weekend, County health officials are reminding the public to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses and pay extra attention to children, elderly and pets.

The National Weather Service in San Diego issued an excessive heat warning effective Sunday at 9 p.m. for the desert areas of eastern San Diego County including Borrego Springs. Temperatures will be in the 110 to 116 range today through Sunday with highs of 116 to 122 Monday through Wednesday.

The County is extending the Cool Zone hours at the Borrego Springs branch of the San Diego County Library. The library will be open on Monday, when it’s normally closed, from 12 to 5 p.m. The library is normally open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, but is shifting its hours that day to 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The library is located at 587 Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 125.

A heat advisory is also in effect for the mountain areas including Julian and Pine Valley from 11 a.m. Saturday until 9 p.m. Wednesday. Mountain and foothill areas in the county are expected to be hot as well with from 92 to 102 Saturday and Sunday increasing to 96 to 104 Monday through Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The County operates the Cool Zones program and has designated more than 115 air-conditioned buildings as cooling centers. Locations and hours of operation can be found on a new interactive map on CoolZones.org, or by calling 2-1-1 San Diego (dial 2-1-1). You can also call 1-800-510-2020, ext. 6 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sites are identified by a light blue polar bear Cool Zone logo.

Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler. Do not rely on electric fans for cooling if temperatures exceed 90 degrees.

To avoid heat-related problems, health officials recommend the following:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
  • Drink plenty of water (avoid alcohol and sugary drinks) and don’t wait until you are thirsty
  • Take cool showers
  • Never leave a child, elderly person, or pet unattended in a car
  • Keeping pets cool in hot weather
  • Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities outside during the hottest part of the day
  • Avoid unnecessary sun exposure and wear a wide-brim hat if you need to be in the sun
  • Avoid using the oven to cook

An extremely high body temperature (103 or higher), dizziness, nausea, confusion, and headache are signs of heat-stroke or exhaustion. If someone shows these signs, call 9-1-1 and begin cooling the individual by:

  • Moving them to a shaded area
  • Spraying with cool water and fanning them
  • Placing them in a cool shower if they are alert
  • Monitoring the body temperature and continue cooling efforts
  • Do not give the victim fluids to drink

Elderly people (65 years and older), infants and children, and people with chronic medical conditions are more prone to heat stress. People with elderly neighbors should check on the well-being of the older persons.

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact