Summer is here and high temperatures are predicted in the forecast. City Health Officer, Dr. Anissa Davis, advises residents to take precautions against the heat and prepare for a safe and healthy summer.
“It’s important for people to be familiar with and practice summer safety tips to protect themselves from heat-related illness, injury, and diseases caused by mosquito bites,” said Dr. Davis. “Summertime is a perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with family, and you can do that safely.”
On warmer days remember to:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Increase fluid intake regardless of activity level. During hot weather, it is necessary to drink more liquid than your thirst indicates. This is especially true for those over 65 years of age.
- Ensure that infants and children drink adequate amounts of liquids.
- Give pets plenty of fresh water. If outdoors, leave the water in a shady area.
- Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen
- Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. In the hot sun, a wide-brimmed hat will keep the head cool.
- Dress infants and young children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.
- A variety of sunscreens are available to reduce the risk of sunburn. Check the sun protection factor (SPF) number on the label of the sunscreen container. Select SPF 15 or higher and follow package directions.
- Stay cool indoors or at designated cooling centers
- To provide the public with relief from the heat, City of Long Beach facilities are used as cooling centers. These include libraries and recreation centers, where residents can sit and enjoy the air conditioning during normal business hours of the facility.
- Do not rely on electric fans as a primary cooling device during a heat wave. When the temperature is in the high 90s or higher, a fan will not prevent heat-related illness. A cool shower or bath is a more effective way to cool off.
- Do not leave infants, children, elderly, or pets in a parked car. Bring pets indoors to protect them.
- Use a buddy system
- When working in the heat, monitor the condition of coworkers and have someone do the same for you.
- If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know anyone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
- Monitor those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
- Infants and children up to four years of age,
- People who over exert during work or exercise,
- People 65 years of age or older,
- People who are ill or on certain medications,
- People who are overweight,
- Family pets. They are susceptible to heat-related illness and injury and should never be left in a parked car under direct sunlight.
If you or someone you know is at higher risk, it is important to drink plenty of fluids; avoid overexertion; and get a doctor or pharmacist's advice about medications taken for high blood pressure, depression, nervousness, mental illness, insomnia, or poor circulation. Limit sun exposure during midday hours and in places of potential severe exposure, such as beaches.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Warmer weather creates an ideal environment for some uninvited guests—mosquitoes. Although there has been no local transmission of Zika virus detected in California this year, the Health Department is actively pursuing the mosquito that carries Zika (Aedes aegypti).
In the midst of news about Zika, residents are reminded that West Nile virus is still an ongoing public health concern. Positive West Nile virus activity has been detected in all of Long Beach’s surrounding counties. Thus, residents should be aware and take the following precautions to avoid mosquito bites:
- Eliminate standing water on the property by dumping or draining water in neglected ponds, swimming pools, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, old tires or anything that can hold water. Mosquitoes breed in standing water and dumping or draining the water interrupts the mosquito life cycle;
- Consistently using mosquito repellent when outside;
- Wear long sleeves and pants;
- Use air conditioning;
- Make sure to install screens or repair screens on doors and windows;
- Report dead birds and dead tree squirrels to the California Department of Public Health by calling 1-877-WNV-Bird or online at http://www.westnile.ca.gov/;
- For further information, contact the Long Beach Health Department Vector Control Program, at 562-570-4132 or online at www.longbeach.gov/health and click on “West Nile Virus;”
- Report day-biting mosquitoes to the Zika Hotline at 562-570-7907.
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services would like to wish you a safe and healthy summer. For more information and summer safety tips, visit: www.longbeach.gov/health, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, allowing for better engagement with its people, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and a greater understanding of the City's strengths and needs. For more information, visit us at www.longbeach.gov/health, "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.