Take Precautions in Excessive Heat

Extremely high temperatures forecast for the mountain and desert areas of San Diego County have prompted the National Weather Service to issue an excessive heat warning and San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency officials want residents to take adequate precautions to avoid heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses and to make sure vulnerable populations, like children, older adults and pets, are protected.

The warning is in effect from 11 a.m. Sunday, June 19, through 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 23. Temperatures are expected to as high as 20 degrees above normal by Sunday approaching 120 degrees in the desert.

The County’s Borrego Springs branch library, 587 Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 125, and Potrero branch library, 24883 Potrero Valley Rd., will be open extended hours as a Cool Zone Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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, by calling 2-1-1 San Diego or by calling 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.

Elderly people, 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. Pet owners should exercise their pets in early morning hours or late at night to avoid prolonged exposure to the heat.

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
  • 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 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 continuing cooling efforts
  • Do not give the victim fluids to drink
Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact