SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – While the weather is pleasant for California’s reopening Tuesday evening, things are going to heat up over the next few days.
“It’s easier for fires to start. We’re already at super dry vegetation. We’re two months ahead of schedule,” said Sacramento Metro Fire Captain Chris Vestal.
Vestal is concerned not only about fires, but the danger the heat poses to all residents.
“We’re going to become dehydrated faster. We can simply get sunburned which also causes us to dry out,” he said.
“And I would caution people, especially those who have not been already exercising a lot, or spending a lot of time outdoors in the heat, to take it easy,” said Dr. Sheri Belafsky with the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences.
As an occupational and environmental health specialist, Dr. Belafsky said she sees many patients who have outdoor jobs, and a sudden heat wave with temperatures above 105 can be dangerous.
“A lack of acclimatization. We’re not accustomed to it. So what might be an ordinary amount of water for you to be drinking during a typical day is suddenly not going to be,” she explained.
Dr. Belafsky says the warning signs of heat exhaustion include weakness, fatigue, nausea and sometimes dizziness.
“And heat exhaustion, if treated quickly, it can be reversed very quickly. So that’s good to know,” she continued. “And you can do that by replenishing fluids and cooling off, getting into shade, getting into a cool space. Sometimes that requires maybe a sports drink. Something like that that will replenish electrolytes and not just water.”
Heatstroke, when you stop sweating, your skin is dry and hot to the touch, and you may lose consciousness, is much more serious.
“Heatstroke can be a life-threatening condition,” Dr. Belfasky said. “So that actually needs emergency care.”
“So if you’re around people and you notice they’re not acting right, they’re not sweating when they should be, or they’re breathing abnormally, give us a call. Call 911 and let us take care of that person,” Vestal said.
Risk factors for heat-related illness include:
- Those 65-years-old and up
- Underlying conditions like heart disease
- High blood pressure and diabetes
- Medications including those used to treat high blood pressure
- Consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
Bottom line, take it easy as best you can until the heat wave passes.