Two Heat-Related Deaths Confirmed in Santa Clara County
Residents Encouraged to Follow Safety Tips to Prevent
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Santa Clara County, CA – A National Weather Service Heat Advisory is in effect until Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 9 pm. High temperatures are forecast to range from 90 to 100 degrees across most of Santa Clara County, with locally hotter temperatures possible.
San Jose, Gilroy and Morgan Hill remain under excessive heat advisories. No break is expected for tonight and tomorrow evening as overnight temperatures will be above normal and opening windows will not bring relief. In the Santa Cruz Mountains and the East Bay Hills, overnight low temperatures will be in the 70s and 80s. Other areas of the valley will have overnight temperatures in the 50s and 60s, which will bring some relief.
From the start of the current heat wave on June 17, 2017, two deaths of county residents have been attributed to the heat.
- On June 19, 2017, a 72-year-old male died in San Jose.
- On June 19, 2017, an 87-year-old female died in San Jose.
“It is tragic when someone dies of hyperthermia since in most every case it could have been prevented,” commented Dr. Michelle Jorden, Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, Santa Clara County. “Hyperthermia and heat stress happen when a body’s heat-regulation system cannot handle the heat. It can happen to anyone, which it is why it is so important to be in a cool location, drink plenty of water and take a cool bath or shower if you are getting too hot.”
The County of Santa Clara would like to remind everyone that precautions should be taken. This is especially true for individuals who participate in outdoor activities, older adults, caretakers of infants and children, individuals with chronic conditions including a drug or alcohol disorder, those living outside, and those sensitive to the heat.
“Those who are frail or have chronic health conditions, are dealing with drug or alcohol issues, or are homeless, may be at higher risk for heat-related illness. People who work or exercise outside in the heat need to know that even a few hours of exertion may lead to heat-related illness or even heat stress,” said Sara Cody, MD, Health Officer and Public Health Director, Santa Clara County. “Please, never leave children, elderly people, or pets unattended in homes with no air conditioning or in vehicles, even if the windows are ‘cracked’ or open. Temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels.”
If you have an elderly or infirm neighbor or know someone with a drug or alcohol disorder or severe mental illness, and they are without air conditioning, or if you see someone outside who may be having a reaction to the heat, make sure that they get to a cooling center or other air conditioned space between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
For a list of Cooling Centers and information on heat- related illnesses and prevention, please visit the County of Santa Clara Office of Emergency Services web site at: https://emergencymanagement.sccgov.org/home or call 2-1-1. Call your local Cooling Center for hours of operation.
"While it is essential that everyone take special care of themselves, it is equally important that we reach out to those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of extreme heat, including children, the elderly, and their pets,” said Dr. Jeffrey Smith, County Executive. “Extreme heat such as this is not just an inconvenience, it can be dangerous and even deadly, but we can protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors if we take steps to remain cool and hydrated.”
Additional tips for those who must work or exercise outdoors:
- Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
- Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
- Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
- Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.
- Pay attention to signs of dehydration which include dizziness, fatigue, faintness, headaches, muscle cramps, and increased thirst. Individuals with these symptoms should be moved to a cooler, shaded place, and given water or sport drinks. More severe signs of heat- related illness may include diminished judgment, disorientation, pale and clammy skin, a rapid and weak pulse, and/or fast and shallow breathing.
- Coaches, teachers, and employers should seek immediate medical attention for those exhibiting signs of heat-related illness.
- Avoid unnecessary exertion, such as vigorous exercise during peak sun hours, if you are outside or in a non-air conditioned building.
Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:
- During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
- Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
- Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.
Infants and Children:
- It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
- Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
- Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
- Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.
- Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows ‘cracked’ or open.
- Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
- Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
- Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.
Hot Weather Safety Information
Seguridad en el calor (Spanish)
An Toàn Khi Thời Tiết Nóng (Vietnamese)