By Ana Gomez Salcido
San Diego, as well as the rest of the country, has faced record high temperatures in the last few days. This trend is expected to continue in the near future.
According to the National Weather Service, San Diego County broke a few record high temperatures last Saturday, July 23 in different communities. In Campo, the thermometer marked 108 degrees Fahrenheit, shattering the previous record of 103 degrees Fahrenheit, set in 2006.
Although partially cloudy days are forecasted for this weekend, the high temperatures are expected around the high 80s and low 90s throughout San Diego communities, with higher temperatures near the foothills.
To help face the high temperatures, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency is encouraging residents to take adequate precautions to avoid heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses.
The County operates the Cool Zones program and has designated more than 115 air-conditioned buildings as cooling centers. Locations and hours of operation can be found on an interactive map on www.coolzones.org or by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-510-2020 ext.6 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sites are identified by a light blue Polar Bear Cool Zone logo.
According to health officials, elderly people, infants, 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. Pet owners should exercise their pets in early morning hours or late at night to avoid prolonged exposure to the heat.
Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help the body stay cooler. And people, should not rely on electric fans for cooling if temperatures exceed 90 degrees.
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 do not wait until you are thirsty to hydrate.
Other recommendations include taking cool showers; never leaving a child, elderly person, or pet unattended in a car; avoiding unnecessary hard work or activities outside during the hottest part of the day; avoid unnecessary sun exposure and wear a wide-brim hat if there is need to be in the sun; and avoid using the oven to cook.
An extremely high body temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), dizziness, nausea, confusion, and headache are signs of heat stroke or exhaustion. If someone shows these signs, people should call 9-1-1 and begin cooling the person 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 continuing cooling efforts; and not give the victim fluids to drink.