Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, CA — As Mother Lode residents sweat through this week’s triple-digit heat, local officials hoping to reduce heat-related health impacts advise residents to “keep it cool.”
Tuolumne County Public Health Officer Dr. Liza Ortiz was Wednesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.
To avoid letting the heat become an impact, Ortiz advises, “If people do not already have access to air conditioning or climate-controlled buildings, they can go to public buildings during the day that are already open — and they need to make sure that they drink plenty of water.”
With the Fourth of July holiday in the wings this weekend, Ortiz adds, “If you are going to engage in a lot of vigorous, physical act outside during the hottest part of the day, make sure you drink plenty of water, eat food or drink sport drinks.” While common sense dictates caution, often people literally, get caught in the heat of the moment. So, she cautions, “You should limit your physical activity during the very hottest parts of the day, if you can, and, of course, if you start to feel uncomfortable, get somewhere cool and drink water.”
Calaveras County Public Health Services issued a heat advisory, urging the public to proactively prevent heat-related illness. County Health Officer Dr. Dean Kelaita reminds residents that health conditions such as obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn, and drug/alcohol use can make it harder for the body to stay cool in hot weather.
Being Heat Smart
Dr. Kelaita shares the following tips to safely ride out the heat wave:
— Drink plenty of water; if heading out, take enough water for yourself and those traveling with you when you leave home
— Avoid drinks with caffeine (tea, coffee, and soft drinks) and alcoholic beverages
— Provide plenty of water for pets
— Never leave children or pets in a parked car
— Stay cool — stay indoors; if you do not have air conditioning, go to a place that is air conditioned
— Take a cool shower or bath
— Choose lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing
— Wear light clothing; a wide-brimmed hat; and sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) when outdoors, and reapply every two hours when in the sun
— Plan outdoor activities for the cooler parts of the day
— Avoid being out during the hottest part of the day; rest often in a shady area
— Pace yourself; take frequent, regularly scheduled breaks
Heat Illness Signs
If you don’t feel well (for example: heart pounds, out of breath, lightheaded, confused, weak or faint), stop your activity and rest in a cool or shady area. During heat waves, it is especially important to stay in touch with your family, friends, and neighbors daily, Kelaita states. For those with health conditions and the elderly, check in more often — and have others check on you.
“Don’t overestimate what you can do during a heat wave; assume it should be less than your normal level of activity,” Kelaita warns. The warning signs of heat illness include heavy sweating, cramps, headache, nausea or vomiting, tiredness, weakness, dizziness and fainting.
For more information about prevention and signs of heat-related illness, call Public Health in Calaveras County at 754-6460; in Tuolumne County, call 533-7401.
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 AM.