Thursday, September 2, 2010

Heat alert: LA Basin, Lancaster, and the Santa Clarita, San Fernando, and San Gabriel Valleys

For Immediate Release:
September 2, 2010

Heat Alert: High Temps Forecasted for LA Basin, Lancaster, and the
Santa Clarita, San Fernando, and San Gabriel Valleys
Air quality is also expected to be unhealthy today for sensitive
individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley

LOS ANGELES - High temperatures are forecasted for Friday and Saturday
for the Los Angeles Basin, Lancaster, and the Santa Clarita, San
Fernando, and San Gabriel Valleys. The Los Angeles County Health Officer
would like to remind everyone that precautions should be taken,
especially by those people sensitive to the heat.

"While people don't need to be told it's hot outside, they do
need to be reminded to take care of themselves, children, the elderly,
and pets when the weather gets hotter," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD,
MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. "When temperatures
are high, prolonged sun exposure may cause dehydration, heat cramps,
heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

"Never leave children, elderly people, or pets unattended in
vehicles, even with the windows 'cracked or opened,' because
temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels and
California Law makes it illegal to leave children alone in a car"

For a list of cooling centers and additional information on
heat-related illnesses and prevention, please visit the Public Health
website at, or call the LA County
Information line at 2-1-1 from any landline or cell phone within the

In addition, air quality is expected to be unhealthy for sensitive
individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley today, according to the South
Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). People living or working
in the Santa Clarita Valley with heart disease, asthma or other
respiratory disease should minimize outdoor activities. Schools that
have children with sensitive conditions, including heart disease,
asthma, other chronic respiratory diseases, should not participate in PE
or outdoor physical activity and should stay indoors as much as

Heat may worsen the affects of poor air quality in areas of heavy smog.
If you plan to be outdoors, take precautions to protect yourself from
the heat. Symptoms of dehydration and heat cramps include dizziness,
fatigue, faintness, headaches, muscle cramps, and increased thirst.
Individuals with these symptoms should be moved to a cooler, shaded
place and given water or sport drinks. More severe symptoms such as
diminished judgment, disorientation, pale and clammy skin, a rapid and
weak pulse, and/or fast and shallow breathing may indicate heat
exhaustion or impending heat stroke and requires immediate medical

Several tips for beating the heat include:
● Wear light, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
● Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often (do not
wait until you are thirsty), and avoid drinking sweetened drinks,
caffeine, and alcohol.
● Offer help to those in your neighborhood with limited access to air
conditioning and transportation, such as seniors or those who are ill.
Check on them frequently or take them to a location with air
● During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you
don't have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public
facilities such as shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
● Avoid unnecessary exertion, such as vigorous exercise during peak
sun hours, if you are outside or in a non-air conditioned building.
● Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the
sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting,
light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect yourself
from sun damage. And remember sun screen and sun glasses.

Heat-Related Illnesses
Heat Cramps:
● Symptoms include muscular pains and spasms, usually in the stomach,
arms or leg muscles.
● Usually results from heavy exertion, such as exercise, during
extreme heat.
● Although heat cramps are the least severe of all heat-related
problems, they are usually the first signal that the body is having
trouble coping with hot temperatures. Heat cramps should be treated
immediately with rest, fluids and getting out of the heat.
● Seek medical attention if pain is severe or nausea occurs.

Heat Exhaustion:
● Symptoms include heavy sweating, pale and clammy moist skin,
extreme weakness or fatigue, muscle cramps, headache, dizziness or
confusion, nausea or vomiting, fast and shallow breathing, or fainting.
● First Aid: Heat exhaustion should be treated immediately with rest
in a cool area, sipping water or a sports drink, applying cool and wet
cloths and elevating the feet 12 inches.
● If left untreated, victims may go into heat stroke.
● Seek medical attention if the person does not respond to the above,
basic treatment.

Heat Stroke:
● Symptoms include flushed, hot and dry skin (no sweating), high body
temperature (above 103F), confusion or dizziness, unconsciousness,
throbbing headache, rapid, or strong pulse.
● Heat stroke is the most severe heat-related illness and occurs when
a person's temperature control system, which produces sweat, stops
working. Heat stroke may lead to brain damage and death.
● First Aid: Call 911. Move victim to a cool shaded area. Fan the
body, spray body with water.

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and
improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles
County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and
services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control,
and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000
employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more
about Public Health and the work we do, please visit, visit our YouTube channel at, or follow us on Twitter:

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