Health

Residents Urged to Take Precautions in Extreme Heat

With high temperatures blanketing most of San Diego County throughout the week, County health officials are reminding the public to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses and pay extra attention to children, the elderly and pets.

The National Weather Service in San Diego has issued an excessive heat warning effective through Saturday at 10 p.m. that includes the cities of Escondido, El Cajon, San Marcos, La Mesa, Santee, Borrego Springs and Poway. There is a heat advisory also in effect for the rest of San Diego County.

They are forecasting maximum temperatures in the following areas through Friday:

San Diego valleys: 96 to 106

High deserts: 102 to 109

Low deserts: 112 to 117

Mountain areas below 5,000 feet: 94 to 103

Coastal areas: 86 to 100 near higher coastal terrain and near the mesas, and 75 to 85 along the immediate coast.

The County is extending the Cool Zone hours at the Borrego Springs branch of the San Diego County Library. The library will be open today, when it’s normally closed, from 12 to 5 p.m. The library is also extending its hours on Tuesday to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The library is located at 587 Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 125.

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
  • If you’re going to hike, go early or late in the day and be prepared for the heat
  • 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 person 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.

The hot temperatures can also affect air quality. You can check the latest air quality index online.

People should also be extremely cautious about activities that could spark a wildfire during these hot, dry conditions. People should not use lawn mowers or power equipment; make sure trailer chains are not dragging and never pull over in dry grass; and make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished. You can find more reminders and safety tips on the CAL FIRE website.

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