With summer fast approaching, El Dorado County health officials are encouraging residents to prepare now to stay cool and healthy in the upcoming months.
“We are asking people to check their air conditioners to make sure they work properly and to have a plan in place to prevent summer heat injuries,” said Chris Weston, manager of the Public Health Preparedness Section in the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency.
Each summer brings the potential for extreme heat, including heat waves. According to Weston, extreme temperatures can be very dangerous and can cause serious medical problems.
“Anyone can be at risk for heat stoke or heat exhaustion, if they aren’t careful,” said Weston. “Young children, the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions are especially at risk because it is more difficult for them to regulate their body temperatures and to adjust to extreme changes in weather.”
Electric fans are not sufficient to adequately cool a person down when temperatures rise above 100 degrees, added Weston, explaining, “There have been deaths in California where people had a working air conditioner, but did not choose to turn it on because of the cost and unfortunately succumbed to the heat.”
The Community Services Division of the Health and Human Services Agency has programs to assist low-income households with summer heat planning. Services may include repair or replacement of cooling systems, providing energy efficient upgrades to the home, or emergency utility assistance. For more information on these programs and their requirements contact the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) at (530) 621-6150.
The following are hot weather safety tips:
• Drink plenty of fluids, such as water and low-calorie sports drinks, to replace salts and minerals lost through sweating.
• Stay indoors in an air-conditioned building. If your home does not have sufficient air conditioning, visit a friend, relative or other location in the community, including libraries, grocery stores, or shopping centers where the air conditioning is working.
• Pace yourself and avoid heavy exertion in the heat. If you are working outdoors hydrate often, take breaks and rest in the shade whenever possible.
• Never leave a child or an animal in a parked vehicle, even for a few minutes. Temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes.
• Check on neighbors, relatives and friends, particularly those who may be isolated.
For more information and additional tips to stay cool and healthy during the summer, visit edcgov.us/publichealth.