CDPH and Cal OES warn of the dangers of excessive heat

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SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) are reminding everyone to stay cool and hydrated as temperatures across the state continue to climb.

For the next several days, temperatures are expected to be 10–15 degrees above normal with many places topping 100 degrees.

“It’s going to be a hot week, and we would like everyone to protect themselves from the dangers of excessive heat,” said CDPH Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “It is important that everyone stays cool, stays hydrated, stays inside and take other precautions to prevent heat-related illness.” 

Extreme heat poses a substantial health risk, especially for vulnerable populations including young children, the elderly, those with chronic diseases or disabilities, pregnant women and people who are socially isolated.

“Simple actions can avoid tragic situations when we know weather changes like these are in the forecast,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “Err on the side of caution if you’re going to be outside these coming days.”

Heat-related illness includes: cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death. Warning signs of heat-related illnesses may include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache and nausea. Vomiting, paleness, tiredness and dizziness can also be indicators of heat-related illness.

In areas where air quality is poor, people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory diseases should reduce or eliminate their outdoor activities. Summer schools and programs with children who have sensitive conditions, including heart disease, asthma and other respiratory diseases, should conduct activities indoors as much as possible.

CDPH offers the following tips to stay safe during this period of excessive heat:

  • 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.
  • Drink plenty of water or juice, even if you are not thirsty. Avoid alcohol.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning, visit a cooling center or a public place with air conditioning (such as a shopping mall or library) to cool off for a few hours each day.
  • Avoid outdoor physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day. Reduce exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest, and keep physical activities to a minimum during that time.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover the face and neck, wear 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 may be on medications which increase the likelihood of dehydration.
  • To prevent overheating, use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths. Get medical attention if you experience a rapid, strong pulse, you feel delirious or have a body temperature above 102 degrees.

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 number one cancer affecting Californians.

Visit CDPH’s website for more tips for preventing heat-related illness and tips for treating heat-related illness. You can also find more information about summer heat on Cal OES’ website.