As Temperatures Rise, Californians Urged to Keep Their Cool
SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 10, 2012 – As several regions of the country begin to get a break from the stifling heat and widespread power outages, many parts of California are now getting a turn under the broiler. A potentially deadly heat wave has brought triple-digit temperatures to interior parts of Southern California and the eastern Sierra Nevada, leading officials to urge caution. Officials with the California Emergency Management Agency say there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from prolonged heat exposure and avoid a trip to a hospital.
Drinking more rehydrating fluids, wearing lightweight clothing and staying indoors such as an air conditioned home or shopping center are the best first steps to prevent heat-related illnesses. Employers are urged to train their employees about heat illness, what steps are being taken on the work site to prevent it and how to respond in an emergency.
Unusually hot temperatures can affect your health. On average, 675 deaths from extreme heat events occur each year in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, and people with a chronic medical condition. In July of 2006, California suffered a severe heat wave lasting two weeks. According to the California Department of Public Health, heat-related illness during this heat wave caused 655 deaths and 16,166 hospitalization admissions.
You can take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather:
- Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
- Pace yourself.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
- Do not leave children or animals in cars.
- Check the local news for health and safety updates.
Resources and Links
National Weather Service –California Watches, Warnings & Advisories
Cal EMA Summer Heat Resources
California Department of Public Health
Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
Calif. Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) – Heat Illness Prevention
Workers: Heath Safety Fact Sheet w/illustrations
Heat Illness Prevention Video (8 minutes)