July 3, 2024 at 5:24 pm


IMPERIAL COUNTY – Imperial County Public Health Department officials are asking residents to take appropriate precautions during extreme heat events this summer. Locally, several cool centers and hydration stations have been established throughout the County where individuals can access water or cool off during the hottest parts of the day. Given that some of the hydration stations will be located at County fire stations and libraries, individuals are asked to call the sites before their visit to assure staff will be available. Additionally, the public is asked to contact their city officials for information related to cool centers/hydration stations located within city limits.

Residents are encouraged to check on neighbors such as the elderly, disabled and young children that might be more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses.  Young children are especially vulnerable to high temperatures and parents and caregivers of small children are asked to be especially vigilant about not leaving children in hot cars to avoid serious injury or even death.  “As outside temperatures rise, the risk of children dying from being left alone inside a hot vehicle also rises,” said Dr. Stephen Munday, Imperial County Health Officer.

These are tips for parents/caregivers:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on;
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away;
  • Ask the childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected;
  • Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the backseat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver's view to indicate a child is in the child-safety seat, and
  • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child's reach

It’s vital that residents take the following precautionary measures to prevent heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • Dres in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing; 

  • Drink a variety of fluids, including water, fruit juice and sports drinks; 

  • Check on neighbors, especially seniors, children, and neighbors who live alone; 

  • Keep physical activities to a minimum during the hottest part of the day;

  • Stay indoors and out of the sun during the hottest part of the day; 

  • Use fans as appropriate; 

  • Use cool showers, baths, misting and washcloths, and 

  • Avoid hot foods and heavy meals. 

  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and apply sun block containing a protection level of SPF of 30 or greater (the more effective products indicate “UVA/UVB protection” on the label.) 

Pet owners are encouraged to protect their pets from the heat by always keeping plenty of fresh water available for them, providing access to a shaded area, and never leaving animals in a car during the summer months.   

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, fainting and vomiting. The symptoms due to heat stroke include hot dry skin, rapid and strong pulse and possible unconsciousness. Heat stroke is considered a severe medical emergency. If someone is suffering from heat stroke, emergency medical assistance should be sought immediately.

For additional information on heat-related illnesses, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/extreme-heat/signs-symptoms/index.html. For more information on cool centers and hydration stations in Imperial County, please visit www.icphd.org/coolcenters