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Health Officials Stress Heat Related Illnesses, Deaths Are Preventable

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San Andreas, CA – Public health officials are sharing advice on how to handle the triple-digit heat the Mother Lode is experiencing for the next several days.

Calaveras County Public Health officials point out that while heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year.

The warning signs of heat illness include heavy sweating, cramps, headache, nausea or vomiting, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, and fainting.

“Don’t overestimate what you can do during a heatwave, assume it’s less than your normal level of activity,” states Public Health Office Dr. Dean Kelaita. “Play it safe and avoid heat-related illness. Common-sense measures can prevent the possibility of heat-related illness. Some health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn, and drug/alcohol use can make it harder for the body to stay cool in hot weather.”

What To, What Not To Do

He shares this list of tips to follow during this heatwave:

• Drink plenty of water. Take enough water for yourself and those traveling with you when you leave home and make sure pets have a plentiful supply. Avoid drinks with caffeine, like tea, coffee, and soft drinks, and avoid alcoholic beverages because they are dehydrating.

• Stay cool, stay indoors, in an air-conditioned area, if possible. If you do not have air conditioning, go to a place that is air-conditioned or take a cool shower or bath.

• Wear light clothing and sunscreen when outdoors. Clothing should be lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing. Wear a wide-brimmed hat for protection from the sun and use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and reapply every two hours when in the sun.

• Plan outdoor activities for the cooler parts of the day and avoid being out during the hottest part of the day. Rest often in a shady area. Never leave children or pets in a parked car.

• Pace yourself and take frequent, regularly scheduled breaks. If you don’t feel well, such as feeling your heart pound, are out of breath, lightheaded, confused, weak or faint, stop your activity and rest in a cool or shady area.

• Stay in touch with your family, friends, and neighbors daily, and even more often with those who have health conditions and or are elderly, and have others check on you.

Remain COVID-19 Prevention Vigilant

Dr. Kelaita adds that folks need to remain vigilant in preventing COVID-19 transmission during this heat warning period.

“We must continue to practice preventive actions that help slow the spread of COVID-19. Practice physical distancing, wear a face covering, get tested, wash your hands often, and stay home if you are sick,” he maintains. “It is also best to avoid gatherings with people you don’t live with. All of these measures can add up and help slow the spread.”

The best ways to avoid exposure to the virus are to stay home if you are sick; keep at least six feet from people outside of your household, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; wear a face covering over your nose and mouth when around others.

For more information about prevention and signs of heat-related illness, call Public Health at 209 754-6460.

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