Redwood City – The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for much of the Bay Area this weekend, including southern San Mateo County.
And while much of the county is unlikely to see triple digits, this first heat wave of 2023 is a good time for a refresher on safety tips and ways to identify the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
“Heat safety and prevention is essential every summer,” said Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Curtis Chan.
“This means drinking plenty of fluids, wearing lightweight loose-fitted clothing, limiting outdoor activities during the hotter parts of the day, and staying in cool indoor places — like shopping malls, libraries, markets, community centers and other cooling centers,” Chan said.
Residents can check with their local city about plans to open cooling centers. The County at this time does not plan to open cooling centers as the forecasted heat wave is not expected to trigger emergency protocols – but is prepared to do so if conditions warrant.
The County’s Center on Homelessness has shared the forecast with local outreach teams and asked them to check in on unhoused clients, offering a referral to a shelter in certain cases.
The State of California recently launched a Summer of Safety campaign with free materials in many languages. This includes a Quick Guide to Extreme Heat in 12 languages, including Spanish, Tagalog and Chinese.
“In the moderate coastal climate of the Bay Area, people may be particularly vulnerable to heat illness. Our bodies are not accustomed to the hot weather, and many homes lack air-conditioning,” Chan said.
Watch for Signs of Heat Illness:
In the summer, multiple days and nights of hot weather can be very dangerous. Getting too hot can make people sick. California Department of Health recommends learning the signs and how to help someone with heat illness:
- Heat stroke: red, hot, dry skin; very high body temperature; dizziness; nausea; confusion, strange behavior, or unconsciousness; rapid pulse or throbbing headache. Call 9-1-1.
- Heat exhaustion: heavy sweating, cramps, headache, nausea or vomiting, tiredness, weakness, dizziness and fainting. Move to a cool place and get medical help if vomiting or symptoms get worse or last longer than 1 hour.
When temperatures are very high, make sure to:
- Stay hydrated. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and a hat outdoors.
- Wear sunscreen and avoid too much sun.
- Slow down and avoid exercise during the hottest parts of the day.
Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning or if there was a power outage, find a public place you can go to get out of the heat:
- Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can be cool places to take a break from the heat.
- Ask neighbors, friends, or family if they have a cool place you can hang out.
If you work outside:
- Take breaks to cool down.
- Your employer must give you water, rest, and shade.
Look out for Others:
- For people who are 65 or older, heat can be especially dangerous. Make a plan with a friend, relative, or neighbor who will call or come check on you twice a day while it is hot outside.
- Bring pets inside. Make sure they have plenty of fresh water.
Make sure everyone is out of the car whenever you park. Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a parked vehicle.
Temperatures inside a car can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes causing heat stroke or death.
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