This week’s scorching temperatures bring an increased risk of heat-related illnesses

Here comes another heat wave — and this one has the potential to set records.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for Southern California this week, with temperatures expected to soar into the triple digits in parts of the county. Even coastal areas won’t be immune, with some beach cities breaking the 90-degree mark on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Female drinking a bottle of water with sun in the backgroundAnytime it gets this hot, there’s an increased risk of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, particularly for those who are more sensitive to higher temperatures. As such, the Orange County Health Care Agency typically advises the following precautions:

  • Drink plenty of water, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and use sunscreen.
  • Avoid strenuous activities if you are outside or in non-air conditioned buildings. If you are working outdoors, take frequent rest and refreshment breaks in a shaded area.
  • Never leave children, elderly people or pets unattended in closed cars or other vehicles.
  • Check on those who are at a higher risk to make sure they are staying cool, including seniors who live alone, people with heart or lung disease and young children.
  • Stay cool indoors. If your home is not air-conditioned, visit public facilities including shopping malls and libraries to stay cool.

The Health Care Agency says signs of heat exhaustion can include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea or vomiting and dizziness. If you experience these symptoms, move to a cool location, rest and drink fluids.

Warning signs of heat stroke may include an extremely high body temperature; unconsciousness; confusion; hot and dry skin with no sweating; a rapid, strong pulse; and a throbbing headache. If these symptoms are present, call for medical assistance immediately. County health officials say heat stroke victims should be moved to a shady area where their bodies can be cooled with water.

For more information on heat-related illnesses, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.