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California Heats Up and That Means Health Risks

Map from the National Weather Service shows the areas of 'excessive heat' alerts in California.

Map from the National Weather Service shows the areas of 'excessive heat' alerts in California.

The rest of the nation has sweltered this summer, but California has escaped extreme heat — until now. The National Weather Service may not have high-end graphics, but its map tells the story. The San Joaquin Valley, starting south of Modesto, is colored a brownish-red and that means excessive heat warning. Temperatures are expected to exceed 100 degrees every day until Tuesday. The bright pink areas indicate a heat “watch” (click here if you don’t know the difference). This kind of heat is not just a weather story, it’s a significant health and environment story too.

High heat is hazardous to people, pets and livestock. San Joaquin County Public Health Services warns people to drink plenty of water, stay cool in an air-conditioned room and wear loose-fitting clothing. And, please, do not leave children, seniors or pets in a parked car for any period of time, even with windows cracked. The interior of the car can heat up very fast — to deadly levels — within minutes.

Those at highest risk for heat stress are children under age 4, adults with disabilities, anyone with a chronic illness and the elderly. Continue reading