National Weather Service officials reported up to triple digits in an ongoing Southland heat wave and are warning residents to protect themselves against heat related illnesses. Staying in air conditioned rooms, staying out of the sun and drinking plenty of fluids are some of the measures people should take, especially those at highest risk, they said. The Centers for Disease Control, which has reported 400 heat related deaths per year in the United States, gives additional tips for protection from the heat.
They recommend the following:
1. Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
2. Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar-these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
3. Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
4. Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
5. Wear lightweight, light-
colored, loose-fitting clothing.
6. NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on infants and young children, people aged 65 or older, people who have a mental illness and those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, they said.
The Department of Public Health in Los Angeles county opened cooling centers for people without access to air conditioning. The cooling centers, available to seniors and anyone else looking to escape the heat, will be open during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, according to the Department DPH officials. Some cooling centers, such as county libraries, will be open weekends.
A list of the cooling centers and operating hours is at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov. Also, people can call 211 to be directed to the cooling center nearest them.