Keeping safe during extreme heat in Kern County

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Temperatures have already reached triple digits in Bakersfield this week and it serves as an important reminder to keep cool and avoid heat-related stroke.

Extreme heat can pose as a risk for some people including young children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases and pregnant women.

Heat-related illness includes cramps, heat exhaustion, stroke and even death.

Warning signs include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache and nausea. Vomiting, paleness, tiredness and dizziness can also be some factors of heat-related illness.

Kern County Public Health says there are some steps you can take to avoid heat stroke:

  • Drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty. Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid outdoor physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day. Reduce exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest, and keep physical activities to a minimum during that time.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover the face and neck and loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Regularly check on any elderly relatives or friends who live alone. Many may be on medications which increase likelihood of dehydration.
  • To prevent overheating, use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a rapid, strong pulse, you feel delirious or have a body temperature above 102 degrees.
  • Never leave infants, children, elderly or pets in a parked car. It can take as little as 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise to levels that can kill.
  • Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Chronic exposure to the sun can cause cataracts.
  • Liberally apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) 15 minutes before venturing outdoors and re-apply at least every two hours – sunscreen may reduce the risk of skin cancer.

As a reminder, pets can feel the heat as well. Pavement can get very hot and can burn paws.

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