Public Health issues safety tips as first heat wave of the season hits

Public Health issues safety tips as  first heat wave of the season hitsResidents — especially those most vulnerable — are encouraged to take precautions as temperatures spike. — News Review file photo

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The Kern County Department of Public Health issued a reminder this week to take precautions from extreme temperatures in light of the first heat wave of the season.

“The National Weather Service reports that high pressure will build over central California this week bringing a return to triple-digit highs and moderate heat risk for sensitive groups in the San Joaquin Valley, lower foothills and Kern County desert areas,” said Michelle Corson, public relations spokesperson for the department. The high temperatures started Wednesday and are expected to continue through Sunday.

“Extreme heat poses a substantial health risk, especially for vulnerable populations including young children, the elderly, those with chronic diseases or disabilities, and pregnant women.”

Early warning signs of heat-related illness include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea, vomiting, paleness, fatigue and dizziness. If not addressed, these symptoms can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death.

Public health officials offered the following tips to stay safe during this period of excessive heat:

• Drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty. Avoid alcohol.

• Avoid outdoor physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day. Reduce exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and keep physical activities to a minimum during that time.

• Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover the face and neck and loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and to protect your skin from the sun.

• Regularly check on any elderly relatives or friends who live alone. Many medications increase likelihood of dehydration.

• To prevent overheating, use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths.

• Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a rapid, strong pulse, you feel delirious or have a body temperature above 102 degrees.

• Never leave infants, children, elderly or pets 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.

• Wear sunglasses that provide 100-percent UVA and UVB protection. Chronic exposure to the sun can cause cataracts.

• Liberally apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) 15 minutes before venturing outdoors and re-apply at least every two hours – sunscreen may reduce the risk of skin cancer.

The county will open cooling centers when excessive temperatures are forecast. See www.co.kern.ca.us/pio/cooling

centers.aspx.

Story First Published: 2018-06-22