SACRAMENTO, CA - Triple-digit heat set a record in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Saturday. While the heat is a kick off to summer activities, it can also be dangerous.
Heat-related illnesses develop when the body's way of cooling down, like sweating, isn't enough. The body isn't able to regulate its temperature, which can cause damage to vital organs or the brain. Heat-related illnesses, like heat stroke and heat exhaustion, can also lead to death. During a two-week heat wave in July 2006, 655 people died and 16,166 people were hospitalized, according to the California Department Public Health, CDPH.
RELATED STORY: 3 cool ways to beat summer heat
Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
- infants and children up to four years of age
- people who overexert during work or exercise
- people 65 years of age or older
- people who are ill or on certain medications
- people who are overweight
Heat stroke occurs when the body can't control its temperature, CDPH said. Warning signs of heat stroke may include:
- extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally)
- dizziness, nausea, and confusion
- red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
- rapid, strong pulse
- throbbing headache
RELATED STORY: Healthy safety tips during hot weather
A person develops heat exhaustion when the body loses a lot of water and salt contained in sweat. The CDPH said the warning signs of heat exhaustion may include:
- heavy sweating
- muscle cramps
- nausea or vomiting
- paleness, tiredness, dizziness
Here are 7 tips to stay cool and prevent heat-related illnesses from the CDHP:
1) Drink Plenty of Fluid: Increase your fluid intake regardless of your activity level. During heavy exercise in hot weather, drink 2 to 4 glasses of cool fluids each hour. During hot weather, you will need to drink more liquid than your thirst indicates. This is especially true for those over 65 years of age. Avoid very cold beverages to prevent stomach cramps or drinks containing alcohol, which will actually cause you to lose more fluid.
2) Less Sun: 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. If you must be out in the heat, plan your activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening. While outdoors, rest frequently in a shady area.
3) Clothing: Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. In the hot sun, a wide-brimmed hat will keep the head cool. Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Chronic exposure to the sun can cause cataracts, which left untreated, can lead to blindness.
4) Wear sunscreen: Liberally apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) 15 minutes before venturing outdoors and re-apply at least every two hours - sunscreen prevents skin cancer, the No. 1 cancer affecting Californians and prevents premature aging.
5) Use a Buddy System: When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your coworkers and have someone do the same for you. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day. If you know anyone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
6) NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle: Never, EVER leave infants, children, frail elderly or pets unattended 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.
7) Replace Salt and Minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body, which are necessary for your body and must be replaced. The best way to replace salt and minerals is to drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or any work in the heat. Do not take salt tablets unless directed by your doctor.
Information from the California Department of Public Health