Level I & II Heat Alert Advisory
Level I & II Heat Alert Advisory in effect through Wednesday, June 21.
The National Weather Service anticipates excessive heat in Northern and
Central Sacramento Valley and adjacent foothills resulting from high pressure
over Northern California. The hottest temperatures are expected Saturday,
June 17 through Wednesday, June 21, with many locations experiencing three
digit temperatures, up to 110 degrees. Daytime heat with warm overnight
lows will make it challenging to get relief, especially for residents
who do not have access to air conditioning.
Preventing Summer Heat Injuries
Summer heat waves can be dangerous and the elderly people are at the highest
risk. People normally cool their bodies by sweating, but under some conditions,
sweating isn't enough. Very high body temperatures may damage the
brain or other vital organs. Some conditions that can limit the ability
to regulate temperature include old age, obesity, fever, dehydration,
heart disease, poor circulation, sunburns, drug and alcohol use. Summertime
activity, whether on the playing field or the construction site, must
be done in a way to aid the body's cooling mechanisms and prevent
Protecting Against Heat Injuries
To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high:
Drink Plenty of Fluid - Increase your fluid intake regardless of your activity level. During
heavy exercise in hot weather, drink 2-4 glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool
fluids each hour. Consult with your doctor if you have been prescribed
a fluid-restricted diet or diuretics. During hot weather, you will need
to drink more liquid than your thirst indicates. This is especially true
for those over 65 years of age. Avoid very cold beverages to prevent stomach
cramps or drinks containing alcohol, which will actually cause you to
lose more fluid.
Replace Salt and Minerals - Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body, which are necessary
for your body and must be replaced. The best way to replace salt and minerals
is to drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or any work
in the heat. Do not take salt tablets unless directed by your doctor.
If you are on a low-salt diet, ask your doctor before changing what you
eat or drink.
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen - Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight,
light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. In the hot sun, a wide-brimmed
hat will keep the head cool. Sunburn affects your body's ability to
cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and
damages the skin. A variety of sunscreens are available to reduce the
risk of sunburn. Check the sun protection factor (SPF) number on the label
of the sunscreen container. Select SPF 15 or higher and follow package
Pace Yourself - If you are unaccustomed to working or exercising in hot weather, start
slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your
heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, stop all activity, get
into a cool or shady area, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded,
confused, weak, or feel faint.
Stay Cool Indoors - The most efficient way to beat the heat is to stay in an air conditioned
area. If you do not have an air conditioner or evaporative cooling unit,
consider a visit to a shopping mall or public library for a few hours, or
CLICK HERE for a list of local cooling centers, or
CLICK HERE for a list of county-wide cooling centers. Do not rely on electric fans
as your primary cooling device during a heat wave. When the temperature
is in the high 90s or higher, a fan will not prevent heat-related illness.
A cool shower or bath is a more effective way to cool off.
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully - If you must be out in the heat, plan your activities so that you are
outdoors either before noon or in the evening. While outdoors, rest frequently
in a shady area.
Use a Buddy System - When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your coworkers and
have someone do the same for you. If you are 65 years of age or older,
have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat
wave. If you know anyone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
Monitor Those at High Risk - Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
- Infants and children up to four years of age
- People who overexert during work or exercise
- People 65 years of age or older
- People who are ill or on certain medications
- People who are overweight
If you or someone you know is at higher risk, it is important to drink
plenty of fluids, avoid overexertion, and get your doctor or pharmacist's
advice about medications taken for high blood pressure, depression, nervousness,
mental illness, insomnia, or poor circulation.
Adjust to the Environment - Be aware that any sudden change in temperature, such as an early summer
heat wave, will stress your body. You will have a greater tolerance for
the heat if you limit your physical activity until you become accustomed
to the heat. If traveling to a hotter climate, allow several days to become
acclimated before attempting any vigorous exercise and work up to it gradually.
Use Common Sense - Avoid hot foods and heavy meals; they add heat to your body. Do not
leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car. Bring your pets indoors
with you to protect them. Dress infants and young children in cool, loose
clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella. Limit
sun exposure during the midday hours and in places of potential severe
exposure, such as beaches. Ensure that infants and children drink adequate
amounts of liquids. Give your outdoor animals plenty of fresh water, leave
the water in a shady area, and consider wetting the animal down.
Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion
Two common problems are heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Heat stroke occurs
when the body becomes unable to control its temperature. The body's
temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body
is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher.
Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment
is not given. Heat exhaustion is the body's response to an excessive
loss of water and salt contained in sweat. People most prone to heat exhaustion
are the elderly and those working or exercising in a hot environment.
Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally)
- Dizziness, nausea, and confusion
- Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
Warning signs of heat exhaustion vary but may include:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Paleness, tiredness, and dizziness
What to Do
If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening
emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you
begin cooling the victim:
- Get the victim to a shady area
- Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse
the victim in a tub of cool water, place in a cool shower, spray with
cool water from a garden hose, sponge with cool water, or if the humidity
is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously
- Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature
drops to 101-102°F
- If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency
room for further instructions
- Do not give the victim alcohol to drink
- Get medical assistance as soon as possible
Sometimes a victim's muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably because
of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself
or herself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids.
If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the
victim on his or her side.
These self-help measures are not a substitute for medical care, but may
help you recognize and respond promptly to warning signs of trouble. Your
best defense against heat-related illness is prevention. Staying cool
and making simple changes in your fluid intake, activities, and clothing
during hot weather can help you remain safe and healthy.