With temperatures soaring to triple-digit territory throughout Southern California and rising well above normal on the Westside, an emergency physician at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica urges residents to take precautions to prevent heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses.
Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of the hospital’s Nethercutt Emergency Center, offers these tips to help residents beat the heat:
— Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, before you become thirsty.
— Consume alcohol or caffeinated beverages in moderation because they can hasten dehydration.
— Curtail outdoor activities or schedule them early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the weather tends to be cooler. When going outdoors, wear sunscreen, sunglasses and hats.
— If you want to exercise, do so in moderation and choose the “cooler” option. For example, work out at an air-conditioned gym rather than jogging outdoors.
— Avoid poorly ventilated buildings and places, if possible. Seniors should try to remain in air-conditioned buildings, such as the “cooling centers” that many cities open during periods of extreme heat.
— Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes and lightweight, breathable fabrics, such as cotton and linen.
— Use fans to cool off homes without air conditioning and cook with a microwave, instead of the stove or oven.
— NEVER leave children or pets locked inside cars, even for brief periods of time or with the windows partially rolled down!
Dr. Ghurabi says that seniors, young children and those with chronic health problems are the most susceptible to heat-related illnesses and should take extra precautions.