LOS ANGELES - High temperatures are forecast today in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys. The Los Angeles County Health Officer would like to remind everyone that precautions should be taken, especially by older adults, caretakers of infants and children, individuals who participate in outdoor activities, and individuals who are sensitive to the heat. "Everyone should remember to take special care of themselves, children, the elderly, and their pets. When temperatures are high, prolonged sun exposure may cause dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "Never leave children, elderly people, or pets unattended in vehicles, even with the windows 'cracked' or open, as temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels."
For a list of Cooling Centers and information on heat- related illnesses and prevention, please visit the Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, or call the LA County Information line at 2-1-1 from any landline or cell phone within the county. The posted Cooling Center list is effective as of July 9, 2013. Call your local Cooling Center for hours. To view a map of the nearest cooling centers, go to: http://bit.ly/LACCoolingCenters.
"Offer help to your family, friends, and neighbors with limited access to air conditioning and transportation, such as seniors or those who are ill. Check on them frequently or take them to a location with air conditioning," said Dr. Fielding.
Schools, day camps, and non-school related sports organizations or athletes should take extra precautions during extreme heat. Practices and other outdoor activities should be scheduled for very early or very late in the day in order to limit the amount of time spent in the sun and heat. Heat may worsen the affects of poor air quality in areas of heavy smog.
Additional tips for those who must work or exercise outdoors:
- Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
- Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
- Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
- Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.
- Pay attention to signs of dehydration which include dizziness, fatigue, faintness, headaches, muscle cramps, and increased thirst. Individuals with these symptoms should be moved to a cooler, shaded place, and given water or sport drinks.
- More severe signs of heat-related illness may include diminished judgment, disorientation, pale and clammy skin, a rapid and weak pulse, and/or fast and shallow breathing.
- Coaches, teachers, and employers should seek immediate medical attention for those exhibiting signs of heat- related illness.
- Avoid unnecessary exertion, such as vigorous exercise during peak sun hours, if you are outside or in a non-air conditioned building.
Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:
- During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
- Do not rely only on open windows or a fan as a primary way to stay cool. Use the air conditioner. If you're on reduced income, find out more about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, by calling (866) 675-6623 or contacting your utility provider.
- Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you're on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
- Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect yourself from sun damage. And remember sun screen and sun glasses.
Infants and Children:
- It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
- Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
- Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
- Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.
- Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows 'cracked' or open.
- Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
- Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
- Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth, find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lapublichealth, or follow us on Twitter: @LAPublicHealth.