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Red Cross Encourages Heat Safety

Heat Safety
Hot weather isn’t just uncomfortable; it may also be life-threatening.

SANTA ANA, Calif. – With much of the area experiencing a heat wave, the American Red Cross is urging all Californians to take some basic safety precautions.

Recognize Heat Emergencies

Hot weather isn’t just uncomfortable; it may also be life-threatening. Know how to spot each of the following conditions and what to do if they occur.

  • Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat. Treat by staying hydrated, slowing down and avoiding strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Heat exhaustion typically involves cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headaches; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion. Move the person to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths to the skin. If the person is conscious, slowly give small amounts of cool water to drink. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Heat stroke, or sunstroke, is a life-threatening condition in which the body is unable to cool itself. Signs may include hot or red skin; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 immediately, move the person to a cooler place and treat in the same manner as heat exhaustion. If needed, apply ice or cold packs to the wrists, ankles, groin, neck and armpits.
  • Pets and the Heat

    Pets can’t tell you when they feel unwell and many hide signs of illness until a problem reaches an advanced stage. Be aware that the weather is impacting them as well.

  • Never leave an animal in the car. Even with windows down, the temperature can soar over 120 degrees within a few minutes.
  • Pets can get heat stroke. Dogs with short noses or snouts, such as the boxer and bulldog, are especially prone. Be aware of heavy panting, red gum color and elevated pulse rate. Cool the animal down using a water hose and bring it to your vet as soon as possible.
  • Mind the Sun

    In addition to increasing heat-related discomfort, exposure to the sun can cause burns, blisters and elevated risk of skin cancer.

  • Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Reapply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 throughout the day.
  • Wear sunglasses that will absorb UV sunlight to protect eyes.
  • Protect your feet as hot sand or other surfaces may cause burns.
  • For additional hot weather tips, as well as general preparedness information, please visit