High Heat = High Danger: County offers tips for keeping cool


From San Diego County News Service

There’s no doubt about it. It’s hot. Temperatures are running 5-10 degrees above normal this week and that means the mercury could soar upward of 95 degrees in the inland areas.

It’s more than uncomfortable, it’s dangerous. While you may know how to take care of yourself, be sure to protect any seniors and children in your family, and your pets.

Never ever leave anyone or animal in the car if temperatures hover near the 85-degree mark. On an 85-degree day, a car can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes and soar upward — even with the windows down an inch or two. In recent days, Animal Services has been responding to dozens of calls about pets being left in cars. Officers must break windows to rescue the animals before they die from the heat.

Revisit these tips on how to

stay cool in high heat

wave and how to recognize signs of heat illness. Also, check the

hot weather hazards for dogs

so they don’t suffer from the high temperatures.

Finally, there are more than 100 cool zones to choose from to get out of the heat. For locations and more information, visit

“Even short periods of exposure to high temperatures can cause serious health problems,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Doing work or physical activity outside on a hot day, spending too much time in the sun, or staying too long in an overheated place can cause heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke, exhaustion, and cramps.”

To avoid heat-related problems, health officials recommend the following:

• Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day

• Wear light, loose-fitting clothing

• Drink plenty of water (avoid alcohol and sugary drinks) and don’t wait until you are thirsty

• Take cool showers

• Never leave a child, elderly person, or pet

unattended in a car

• Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities outside during the hottest part of the day

• Avoid unnecessary sun exposure and wear a wide-brim hat if you need to be in the sun

• Avoid using the oven to cook

• An extremely high body temperature (103 or higher), dizziness, nausea, confusion, and headache are signs of heat stroke or exhaustion. If someone shows these signs, call 9-1-1 and begin cooling the individual by:

--Moving them to a shaded area

--Spraying with cool water and fanning them

--Placing them in a cool shower if they are alert

--Monitoring the body temperature, and continue cooling efforts

--Do not give the victim fluids to drink

--Elderly people (65 years and older), infants and children, and people with chronic medical conditions are more prone to heat stress. People with elderly neighbors should check on the well-being of the older persons.

• People who do not have air conditioning in their homes can go to a public place such as a shopping mall, library or senior center (cooling zone) to stay cool. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler. Do not rely on electric fans for cooling if temperatures exceed 90 degrees.

•쨀The County operates the Cool Zones program and has designated more than 100 air-conditioned buildings as cooling centers. The sites are identified by a light blue Polar Bear Cool Zone logo.

Call 2-1-1 San Diego or visit

for a list of locations.