Here's why everyone, even you, needs to take this Bay Area heat wave seriously

Dustin Dorsey Image
Friday, September 2, 2022
Why everyone needs to take this Bay Area heat wave seriously
As you celebrate Labor Day this weekend, here is what experts say to look out for to stay healthy in the extreme heat.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Labor Day weekend means celebrating the end of summer outdoors for a lot of people. But this year, health experts want to offer a word of caution -- even if you're in good health.

"This weekend, it's a holiday weekend," CSU East Bay Public Health Professor Dr. Michael Schmeltz said. "You want to be outside, in the sun, by the shore, but we have to be aware. With these high temperatures, everyone is vulnerable."

Dr. Schmeltz says everyone has a different temperature threshold at which our health is impacted by the heat, it's as low as 90 degrees for some.

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And Dr. Schmeltz says if you're not careful as the heatwave drags on, things like gardening, fishing, and bike riding can be dangerous.

"Going for something like a walk during the day, normally we would be fine," Dr. Schmeltz said. "We may sweat a little bit and cool off through that sweating. But now with these extreme high temperatures, that sort of 'heat balance' that our bodies are trying to cool, that balance is shifted towards the higher end."

And that could lead to mild symptoms like dehydration or dizziness, or serious conditions like heat stroke which could cause irreversible damage to the brain and liver.

RELATED: Excessive heat warning prompts closure of some East Bay open spaces

If you suffer from serious symptoms, like a high fever, you need to seek medical attention immediately.

Chief of the Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Emergency Department Dr. Joel Levis says he is unfortunately expecting to see more patients this weekend.

"Our emergency departments tend to see an increase of patients presenting to the emergency departments with symptoms consistent with a heat-related illness," Dr. Levis said.

RELATED: Flex Alert issued in California as parts of state could see 8 consecutive days of triple-digit heat

For the sake of your health, Dr. Levis says you need to take extra care when it gets this hot.

"Definitely understanding or recognizing the symptoms early on and knowing when it's time to change your activity," Dr. Levis said. "Get out of the heat, get into an air-conditioned room, follow some cool measures and make sure you're hydrating. Start those things early so you're not missing the signs and it progresses to something worse."

So, stay cool and stay healthy.


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