Don't let the heat beat you this summer

It’s crucial to take precautions when dealing with extreme heat.
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Temperatures rose into the triple digits across Yolo County recently, marking the beginning of what will surely be another sweltering Central Valley summer. While Winters natives may scoff at the 90-plus degree weather we saw across Yolo County, it’s crucial to take precautions when dealing with extreme heat. The government website Ready.gov, which provides safety information on a range of dangerous weather conditions, warns that extreme heat is any period of two or three days with temperatures above 90 degrees—is the leading cause of weather-related deaths each year. During extreme heat, which may occur quickly and without warning, the body struggles to maintain a normal temperature, and can cause a range of health concerns like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death. Children, older adults and those struggling with sickness or obesity are at the highest risk for heat-related health problems, however, even healthy adults need to be careful, especially if taking part in physical activity or consuming alcoholic beverages, according to Yolo County’s Summer Weather Resources guide. If any heat-related symptoms last longer than one hour, or if you suspect you or someone you love is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 immediately. Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach and extremities, in the absence of other symptoms, are indications of heat cramps. The least-severe of heat-related illness, heat cramps can be resolved by relocating to a cooler area, removing unnecessary clothing and drinking sports drinks like Gatorade. If, in addition to cramps, someone is experiencing excessive sweating, fatigue, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or has fainted, he or she is showing signs of heat exhaustion. This can progress to the life-threatening heat stroke if body temperature is not lowered by taking a cool bath, lying down in an air-conditioned room, drinking sports drinks and removing clothing. When an individual’s body temperature rises to 103 degrees, he or she may develop signs of heat stroke—a medical emergency that may lead to death if left not treated by medical professionals. As the body becomes too hot to function normally, sufferers of heat stroke stop sweating, their pulses quicken and strengthen and their skin becomes red, hot and dry. They may experience dizziness, confusion and loss of consciousness. Preventative measures include staying hydrated, wearing loose, light-colored clothing, taking cool showers or swimming, avoiding high-energy activities, remaining indoors during the hottest part of the day and wearing a hat or seeking out shade if outside. Public buildings like the library offer refuge for those without air-conditioning in their homes. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause dehydration, as well as impair the ability to make responsible choices about extreme heat.]]>

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