For Immediate ReleaseAugust 15, 2020
Public Health officials warn of potential heat illnesses; offer tips to stay cool
San Rafael, CA — An unexpected heat wave is bringing unusually high temperatures to Marin County. Those more vulnerable to hot conditions now have an option to escape the heat.
Marin Public Health is opening a cooling center Saturday, August 15, through Tuesday, August 18, from 3-7 p.m., at the Marin Center Exhibit Hall (10 Avenue of the Flags). Anyone who cannot safely stay cool at home can seek temporary relief at the air-conditioned San Rafael site.
Public Health is implementing strict safety protocols at the cooling center to prevent transmission of the SARS COV-2 virus and subsequent development of COVID-19 disease among both visitors and staff. Measures include temperature checks, use of masks or face coverings, physical distancing between individuals or household units, staff dedicated to disinfecting restrooms and commonly touched surfaces, and lowering capacity limits of the building. Individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., fever, cough, shortness of breath), should contact their medical provider for alternative options.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a heat advisory for Marin County, in effect from 10 a.m. through 9 p.m. Saturday, August 15. In addition, NWS is forecasting a long duration heat wave for the interior regions of the Bay Area though at least Tuesday of next week. Daily afternoon highs are expected to reach the upper 90s with minimal overnight relief. Due to the long duration of the heat wave, accumulating heat stress could impact people across the region, especially older adults and those sensitive to heat. While most coastal communities are expected to have cooler conditions, those sheltered from the wind could experience record temperatures for the next several days.
Marin County Health and Human Services (HHS) encourages everyone to be on the lookout for heat-related illnesses, either in themselves or their families and friends. Exposure to extreme heat can cause a variety of health problems, including heat stroke and death.
Heat cramps occur as muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat. Symptoms include painful cramps, especially in the legs, and flushed, moist skin. Treatment involves moving to a cool place to rest. Remove excess clothing and place cool cloths on skin and fan skin.
Heat stroke is a serious illness characterized by a body temperature greater than 105 degrees. Symptoms may include dry red skin, convulsions, disorientation, delirium and coma. Onset of heat stroke can be rapid; serious symptoms can occur within minutes. Treatment involves the rapid lowering of body temperature by taking a cool bath or applying wet towels to the body. Keep victims of heat stroke in a cool area and call 911 immediately.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat stroke that may develop due to a combination of several days with high temperatures and dehydration in an individual. Signs of heat exhaustion include extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea or headache. Victims may also vomit or faint. Heat exhaustion is treated with plenty of liquids and rest in a cool, shaded area.
Consider the following tips and suggestions to avoid heat-related illness, including:
HHS offers additional tips for staying cool on its “Stay Safe and Cool During Warm Weather” webpage. For more information on how to stay safe during the heat wave and to avoid heat-related illness, review CDC's Extreme Heat guidelines.
Laine HendricksPublic Information OfficerCounty Administrator's Office
3501 Civic Center DriveSuite #325San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7496Email: Laine HendricksCounty Administrator website