With temperatures during the past week soaring well into the 90s and just touching the triple digit mark, officials noted that it’s a perfect time to get ready for the coming hot weather months.
San Joaquin County Public Health Officer, Dr. Alvaro Garza, urges everyone to prepare for upcoming sunny, hot, triple-digit weather before it arrives by taking these precautionary steps:
· Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.
· Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household. Have an emergency and communications plan for wherever you spend time – home, work and school (refer to BePreparedCalifornia website at www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov/Pages/Home.aspx.)
· Plan ways to look after those who are more vulnerable (e.g. the elderly, young, those living alone or have medical conditions) in your family and neighborhood. Make sure that they are well, cool and hydrated as they are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
· Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
· Cover windows that receive heat from morning or afternoon sun with curtains, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent).
· Use a fan. With ceiling fans, make sure the blades turn in the right direction to feel a breeze blow down on you. Place a desk fan directly in front of you and use a spray bottle of water to cool yourself.
· Keep electric lights off or turned down.
· Minimize use of your oven and stove.
· Drink lots of liquids, especially water, even before feeling thirsty. Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee and colas which can cause dehydration.
· Reschedule or plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day (e.g. early morning); limit late afternoon outdoor activities.
· Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing made of breathable fabric, such as cotton.
· Take cool showers or baths. Wet washcloths can help, too.
· Take a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place or in air-conditioned buildings (e.g., schools, libraries, theaters, and malls).
· Avoid sun exposure. Wear sunscreen and shade yourself by using an umbrella or wearing a wide-brimmed, breathable hat.
· Never leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight, even for a few minutes.
Additional tips on how to stay safe and what to do during an extreme heat-related emergency are available on the following websites:
San Joaquin County Public Health Services at www.sjcphs.org;
California Department of Health Services at www.cdph.ca.gov;
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.org.