With temperatures expected to reach 114 and possibly higher in parts of Riverside County this weekend, health officials are urging residents to use caution in the extreme heat.
“Take this heat seriously, even if you’re healthy and feel you are acclimated to high temperatures. Temperatures like those predicted can lead to life-threatening issues,” Riverside County Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser said in a prepared statement. “Just a few precautions can help you stay safe.”
The National Weather Service is predicting temperatures above 110 degrees in the Coachella Valley, and around 100 in Riverside and mid-90s for southwest Riverside County over the weekend.
Kaiser advises limiting outdoor activity, remaining indoors in air-conditioned buildings, wearing loose and light-colored clothing, taking cool showers or baths and drinking lots of water. Avoid drinking alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
Health officials warn that high temperatures can be hazardous for many people, especially for the elderly and those with medical conditions. Heat-related injuries such as heatstroke, an illness that occurs when the body can no longer regulate its temperature, can strike fast and pose life-threatening consequences.
In 2018, there were at least 23 heat-related deaths in Riverside County between June and August, including 13 during July.
Riverside County residents without access to air-conditioning are urged to visit their local cool centers, according to health officials. Coordinated by the Community Action Partnership of Riverside County, in conjunction with the health department, cool centers are located in local libraries, senior and community centers. Light refreshments and water will be available at some locations.
Don’t forget to watch out for your pets, too. Health officials at The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals, offer the following tips:
- Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
- Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
- Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
- Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!
- Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
- Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
- When the temperature is very high, being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
- Dog in pool: Shutterstock