Everyone wants to keep his or her cool in a heat wave

June 28, 2013
Santa Paula News

By the time you read this you might already be hot: a heat wave was expected to wilt Southern California at the end of this week, bringing what could be record temperatures.

The National Weather Service forecast the hottest of the hot days would be on the weekend. And the worst news is the heat wave could last to July 4.

A large high-pressure system heading west, sinking air and clearing clouds will raise ground temperatures to high 90s or even more than 100 degrees inland. And it won’t be much cooler at the beach, where temperatures could reach into the high 80s.

In any heat spell it is wise to take precautions, including those for your pets. The number one safety concern is leaving a child, senior or pet in a vehicle that even in the shade can reach dangerous interior temperatures in a matter of minutes that can prove fatal to the occupants or cause severe brain damage.

Even on a relatively mild day of 75-degree temperature, a car can reach an interior temperature of 118 degrees. If the outside temperature is 94 degrees the inside of the vehicle can reach 145 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with the windows down and the car parked in the shade. 

When temperatures rise people are at risk in general for heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially those over 65, those with chronic medical conditions, infants and children. Such illnesses are preventable by drinking plenty of fluids, dressing in light colored and lightweight clothing, and staying out of the heat and in air-conditioned places when possible.

Make sure you and family members are hydrated by drinking fluids including plenty of water. Avoid liquids with alcohol content or those that are high in sugar, which cause a person to lose more body fluid.

Stay indoors and, if possible, in an air-conditioned place or near a fan, ceiling or otherwise. But if temperatures reach the high 90s, fans alone will not prevent heat-related stress and illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, applying a wet towel to your head or neck, or moving to an air-conditioned place are more effective ways to cool down. 

Try to avoid going outside. But if you must, limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.

The Santa Paula and Ventura County fire departments and other agencies are keeping a wary eye on the weather. Forecast high temperatures could cause already drought-dried brush to turn to tinder, greatly raising the risk of fire. Fire departments monitor brush, and the latest reports show vegetation is at critical levels of dryness months ahead of schedule.

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