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Public Health encourages residents to stay safe in extreme heat

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Posted at 1:57 PM, Jun 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 16:57:09-04

The Kern County Department of Public Health issued an Extreme Heat Warning Thursday, ahead of next week's triple digit forecast.

Below is their full statement on how you and your family can stay safe:

Kern County Department of Public Health Services is reminding everyone to protect themselves as temperatures in Kern County are expected to climb dramatically beginning this weekend.

According to the National Weather Service, a strong area of high pressure is expected to build over the region this weekend into early next week.

Temperatures will increase to above normal by Sunday and continue to rise to 10-15 degrees above normal next Monday and Tuesday with record temperatures possible.

“Kern residents need to prepare themselves for very high temperatures,” Public Health Services Director Matt Constantine said. “It is important that everyone stay cool, stay hydrated, stay inside and take other precautions to prevent heat-related illness.” Extreme heat poses a substantial health risk, especially for vulnerable populations including young children, the elderly, those with chronic diseases or disabilities, pregnant women and people who are socially isolated.

Heat-related illness includes: cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and death. Warning signs of heat-related illnesses may include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache and nausea. Vomiting, paleness, tiredness and dizziness can also be indicators of heat-related illness. In areas where air quality is poor, people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory diseases should reduce or eliminate their outdoor activities. Summer schools and programs with children who have sensitive conditions, including heart disease, asthma and other respiratory diseases, should conduct activities indoors as much as possible.

The County of Kern will open Cooling Centers throughout the County when temperatures are forecasted by the NWS to exceed certain highs. Residents using the Cooling Centers are encouraged to bring their favorite non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, reading material, and games.

For more information visit: http://www.co.kern.ca.us/pio/coolingcenters.aspx

The California Department of Public Health offers some tips to stay safe during this period of excessive heat:

  • Drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty. Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid outdoor physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day. Reduce exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest, and keep physical activities to a minimum during that time.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover the face and neck, wear loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Regularly check on any elderly relatives or friends who live alone. Many may be on medications which increase likelihood of dehydration.
  • To prevent overheating, use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths. Get medical attention if you experience a rapid, strong pulse, you feel delirious or have a body temperature above 102 degrees.
  • Never leave infants, children, elderly or pets in a parked car. It can take as little as 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise to levels that can kill.
  • Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Chronic exposure to the sun can cause cataracts.
  • Liberally apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) 15 minutes before venturing outdoors and re-apply at least every two hours – sunscreen may reduce the risk of skin cancer, the number one cancer affecting Californians.

For more heat safety tips visit California Department of Public Health webpage: http://cehtp.org/faq/climate_change/extreme_heat_and_climate_change

National Weather Service Heat Impacts Levels webpage:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/wrh/hil/?id=1yHbjQJfR8TAqBMvK-bA6uR3MEYv0R69VaFIWFL8dcq8&wfo=hnx