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Cooling zone stays open through Friday as heat wave continues

Mike Conway

Post Date:06/20/2017

Heat wave continues, Merced cooling zone open through Friday

The heat wave continues to blanket the Valley, with triple digit temperatures stretching into the weekend.

'It's critical we open our cooling zone at least through Friday,' said Assistant City Manager Stephanie Dietz. 'We need to provide a safe haven for people to escape the searing heat.'

The cooling zone for the City of Merced will be in the Sam Pipes Room of the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall) 678 W. 18th St. from 3 to 8 p.m.

'We've got lots of cold water, snacks, and we want people to take advantage of it,' she said. 'Don't stay at home if you can't stay cool and comfortable.'

People are reminded to stay hydrated during the heat wave, wear loose clothes and light colored fabrics. Don't leave children or pets inside vehicles, where temperatures can reach lethal levels in minutes.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for the area through Friday. Wednesday and Thursday's forecast high is 108, and then the temperature is predicted to drop to 104 on Friday.

There will be free bus rides to the Merced cooling zone provided by The Bus.

Dietz also asked City residents to check on their neighbors to make sure they are coping with the hot weather.  'The heat is hard on a lot of people, and we have to look out for each other,' Dietz said. 'Check in on your neighbors and friends, make sure the seniors around you are OK, and don't forget our at-risk residents.'

Opening of the cooling zones is subject to changes in the temperatures.

Below are some tips from the state Office of Emergency Services.

Tips to Prevent Heat Related Illness

' Never leave infants, children or the frail elderly unattended in a parked car.

' Drink plenty of fluids. Don't wait until you're thirsty.

' Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Use a hat and sunscreen as needed.

' Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage to replace salts and minerals lost during heavy sweating. (If a client/resident is on a low-sodium diet, check with his/her physician first.)

' During the hottest parts of the day, keep physical activities to a minimum and stay indoors in air-conditioning and out of the sun.

' Use fans as needed.

' Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate when appropriate.

' Use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths.

' Avoid hot foods and heavy meals'they add heat to the body. Eat frozen treats.

Read more: Division of Occupational Safety & Health (bilingual resources), Center for Disease Control and Prevention Tips for Preventing Heat-related Illness

Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

Heat stroke'which occurs when the body can't control its temperature'may result in disability or death if emergency treatment is not given. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses a large amount of water and salt contained in sweat.

Warning signs of heat stroke vary, but may include:

' An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, orally)

' Unconsciousness

' Dizziness, nausea and confusion

' Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)

' Rapid, strong pulse

' Throbbing headache

Warning signs of heat exhaustion vary, but may include:

' Heavy sweating

' Muscle cramps

' Weakness

' Headache

' Nausea or vomiting

' Paleness, tiredness, dizziness

What to Do

If you see any of these signs for heat stroke or heat exhaustion, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency and should do the following:

' Have someone call 911 while you begin cooling the victim.

' Get the victim to a shady area.

' Cool the victim rapidly with a cool bath or shower, or by sponging with cool water, until body temperature drops to 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit, orally.

' If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.

' Do not give the victim alcohol to drink.

' Again, get medical assistance as soon as possible.

If a victim's muscles twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke, keep the victim from injuring him/herself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his/her side.

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