Health

San Diegans Urged to Take Precautions During Heat

Given the extreme heat the region will be experiencing this week, County health officials are encouraging San Diegans to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. People should especially pay close attention to children, the elderly and pets.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for San Diego County deserts, mountains and valleys that is expected to last until 8 p.m. Thursday, July 26. The expected temperature highs on Tuesday and Wednesday will be between 114 and 120 degrees in the deserts, mid 90s to 106 in the mountains, 90s to 102 in the western valleys and 104 and 108 degrees in the inland valleys. A heat advisory has been issued for San Diego County coastal areas, which will experience temperatures between 88 and 98 degrees.

“Hot days followed by warm nights increase the likelihood of heat-related illnesses,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.

The County operates the Cool Zones program and has designated more than 115 air-conditioned buildings as places people can get relief from the heat. 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 1-800-339-4661 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sites are identified by a light blue polar bear Cool Zone logo.

The Borrego Springs and Potrero libraries are Cool Zones and will extend their hours until 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

The City of National City has opened temporary Cool Zones at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 140 E. 12th Street. The Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Thursday.

“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,” Wooten said.

Mt. Gower County Preserve in Ramona, El Capitan County Preserve in Lakeside, Simon County Preserve in Ramona, and Hellhole Canyon County Preserve in Valley Center will be closed through Thursday due to the heat. Agua Caliente and Vallecito county parks are closed from Memorial Day to Labor Day annually because of the summer heat.

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
  • Keep 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 heatstroke 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 in on their well-being.

For more information on extreme heat, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact