Kern department of Public health offers tips for heat safety

Due to the high temperatures expected this week in Kern County, the kern County Department of Public Health wants all residents to know how to protect themselves from those potentially deadly conditions.
Heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable when you know and practice lifesaving preventive measures.  Prevention practices done personally, and on behalf of others, will greatly reduce the chance for heat related injuries or death.
During extreme heat conditions follow these important basic practices:
•Drink 16 to 32 ounces of water each hour—Avoid alcohol, caffeinated and sugary liquids such as soda pop.
•Eat a balanced diet that supplies necessary minerals that the body loses with excessive sweating.
Wear clothing that is lightweight, light-colored and loose fitting.  Protect skin from sunburn with wide brimmed hats and generous application of sunscreen.
•Schedule outdoor activities during cooler hours and in shaded areas.  Before noon and after 6 pm are better choices.
•Stay cool indoors—Use air conditioners, coolers and fans.  Arrange to go to an air-conditioned location such as a friend’s home, shelter, shopping mall or public library if your home gets too hot or a power disruption occurs.
•Avoid overdressing infants
•Contact elderly persons and those with chronic illnesses who live alone at least twice a day.
•Heat cramps, stroke and exhaustion can occur during times of increased and extreme heat conditions.  You should contact your health care provider if these occur.
•Heat cramps are common when strenuous activity leads to loss of body salt and water.  Persons experience muscle pain, cramps and spasms.  In addition to contacting your health care provider:
•Stop activity and sit quietly in a cool place.
•Drink clear juice or sports beverage.
Heat exhaustion is a risk for the elderly, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in hot environments.  Signs include heavy sweating, paleness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting.
•Move to a cool location and rest.
•Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverage
•Cool off with shower or bath.
Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to control its temperature. Temperature may increase to 106 or higher within 15 minutes.  Heat stroke can lead to death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.  The skin is often hot and dry, pulse is strong and rapid and the person may be confused or unconscious.
•Call for emergency assistance
•Get the person to shade and use any means available to cool them off. Immerse in a tub of cool water, wrap in cool sheets, or spray with a garden hose.
•Continue cooling measures as long as temperature is above 102 and emergency help has not arrived.
•Do not give alcoholic beverage to drink.
•On declared heat emergency days, cooling centers will be opened during the day for any residents needing a cool place to stay. Check with Kern County Aging and Adult Services, Parks and Recreation, and the Department of Public Health for times and available locations.  For more information please visit our website at http://www.co.kern.ca.us/health/