Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies can’t compensate and properly cool themselves.
Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs and lead to death. Even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned, such as a mall or movie theater.
Summertime activity, whether on the playing field or the construction site, must be balanced with measures that aid the body’s cooling mechanisms and prevent heat-related illness.
During severe heat waves, emergency cooling centers may be opened for seniors and people with disabilities. To find a cooling center in Contra Costa call 1-800-510-2020 from within Contra Costa or call 925-229-8434 if you’re outside of Contra Costa.
To get information on how to protect yourself from the hot weather call the California Office of Emergency Services toll free line at 1-877-435-7021 or 211.