Just a short time ago as we bemoaned another cold, rainy spring day, it felt as if summer would never get here. Now, as we cope with the challenges of a second week of a heat wave, there is no doubt about it - summer has arrived - and it has arrived with a vengeance.
With prolonged high temperatures like those we’ve been experiencing, we must take precautions and be mindful of what we can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Eli Avila offers these simple steps for keeping cool and safe:
• Find an air conditioned environment – malls, libraries, theatres are good options.
• Drink plenty of water when it gets hot.
• Avoid drinks with alcohol, caffeine, or excessive sugar.
• Stay out of the sun, if at all possible. Seek shade to keep cool.
• If outside, wear a hat and sunglasses and use at least SPF 15 sunscreen.
• Avoid strenuous activities.
• Never leave children, the elderly, or pets in cars for too long.
• Keep your home cooler utilizing window shades or curtains to keep out the sun.
While anyone, at any time, can be prone to heat-related illness, some are at greater risk than others warns Dr. Avila. People age 65 or older are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses and resulting health complications during periods of high temperatures and humidity, as are children and individuals with chronic respiratory illnesses, such as asthma. Please be sure to check on sick or elderly relatives and neighbors as often as you can during periods of extreme heat.
It’s also important to remember our furry family members when temperatures start to soar. If possible, animals should be kept indoors in a cool location. If they must be left outside, be sure to leave them in a shady location with plenty of water. Never leave an animal in a closed vehicle when the weather is warm.
When the temperatures start to soar many people turn to the water for relief. Orange County Commissioner of Emergency Services, Walter Koury urges residents to put safety first and consider some simple guidelines for staying safe on the water.
• Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
• Always swim with a buddy – never swim alone – even in public pools and lifeguarded beaches.
• Never leave a young child unattended near water or in the supervision of another child. Teach children to ask permission to go near the water.
• Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
• If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
• Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination, affects swimming and diving skills, and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
With a little common sense, simple planning, and good old fashioned judgment, you and your loved ones can beat the heat and safely enjoy spending time outdoors in our beautiful Orange County. And when you’re ready to head inside to cool off, check out Orange County Tourism’s website at www.orangetourism.org for some great, fun indoor options.
Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.