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Blistering temps bring health risks

Homeless center open for respite from heat

Blistering temps bring health risks


POSTED June 28, 2013 8:07 p.m.

The rising mercury in the Central Valley will have people looking for a spot in the pool and resting in air-conditioned locales, but it also brings a real danger from excessive heat.
The California Emergency Management Agency issued a public safety warning Thursday reminding residents to take extra precautions so as to avoid any heat-related illnesses from the prolonged high temperatures.
"Prolonged exposure to excessive temperatures can be extremely dangerous, if not deadly, particularly for infants, small children seniors and those with health problems," said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health. "Last year was the hottest year on record in the United States. Heat waves in California are projected to occur earlier in the season, be more intense and last longer."
The National Weather Service is forecasting local temperatures to hover between 102°F and 108°F through Wednesday. Excessive heat warnings are issued when there is an extended period of daytime temperatures above 100°F and nighttime temperatures above 80°F.
On average, heat-related emergencies cause 56 deaths in Californians each year and prompt 3,800 people to seek treatment at hospital emergency rooms for heat-related symptoms, with approximately 500 cases per year requiring hospitalization, according to the CDPH. At least 136 Californians died due to illnesses prompted by the 13-day heat wave that struck the state in July 2006. During the two-week heat wave Stanislaus County saw 24 heat-related deaths.
The Stanislaus County Office of Emergency Management Services will be monitoring the heat index through the next few days, but did not believe the situation warranted opening cooling centers.
In Turlock the Homeless Assistance Ministry at 1030 East Ave. is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for those in need of a respite from the sun.
Merced County has opted to open cooling centers in several of their communities, including one at 16881 W. Schendel Ave. in Delhi. It will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.
Symptoms of heat-related illnesses include weakness and confusion, cold, moist or clammy skin, a rapid pulse and nausea.
Children, the elderly and those with chronic conditions are especially susceptible to complications from high temperatures.
"They are the most vulnerable in these types of heat-related events," said Turlock Fire Department Chief Tim Lohman. "We are asking the community to be aware of these concerns and check on their neighbors to make sure they are staying cool."
The county OES has also been in contact with the local utility providers and they are operating at full-staffing levels to deal with the increased draw of power and any potential blackouts.
"Cal EMA and its partner agencies have been preparing for excessive heat in many areas of the state this summer and fall by reviewing internal procedures, updating cooling center data bases, identifying state fairgrounds and facilities that serve as cooling centers and taking other actions to help cities and counties throughout the state ensure the safety of their residents, but it's important that every Californian who is able do the simple, but important things that can make the difference between life and death," said Cal EMA Secretary Mark Ghilarducci.
Cal EMA recommends people take the following actions to reduce the risks of heat-related illnesses:
• Monitoring local media for the latest weather forecasts and information from local officials
• Learning the signs of heat-related illness
• Staying out of the sun
• Drink plenty of liquids and reducing physical activity
• Using air conditioning and fans or getting to a location that is air conditioned such as the mall, the theater or a designated cooling center
• Using cool compresses, misting and baths to lower body temperatures
• Wearing lightweight, loose fitting clothing.
• Taking shelter and breaks periodically, as well as staying hydrated, if you must work outside.

 

 

 

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