City of Merced opens cooling center, gives numerous safety tips during heat wave

The city of Merced is opening its Cooling Center Sunday through Thursday, as the region is expected to experience a heat wave reaching temperatures of 106 degrees.On Sunday, July 3, and Monday, July 4, the Cooling Center will be open from noon to 8 p.m. in the Sam Pipes Room of the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St. The hours were extended because the Merced County Library won’t be open over the holiday weekend to serve as a daytime cooling center.Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, July 5-7, the Cooling Center will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Sam Pipes Room.The center will be staffed by the Parks and Community Services Department.Before the opening of the City Cooling Center on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, people can seek shelter in the Merced County Library, 2100 O St.During the hot weather everyone should drink plenty of fluids, avoid caffeine and alcohol, dress in cool clothes, wear a hat and stay out of the sun whenever possible.Residents are asked to check up on neighbors who may be susceptible to excessive heat such as the elderly, infirmed or those with young children. Check up on them twice a day to make sure they are OK. And remember that pets also need extra care and water due to the hot weather. Below are some tips from the state Office of Emergency Services to prevent heat-related illness: -Never leave infants, children or the frail elderly unattended in a parked car. -Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. -Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Use a hat and sunscreen as needed. -Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage to replace salts and minerals lost during heavy sweating. (If a client/resident is on a low-sodium diet, check with his/her physician first.) -During the hottest parts of the day, keep physical activities to a minimum and stay indoors in air-conditioning and out of the sun. -Use fans as needed. -Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate when appropriate. -Use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths. -Avoid hot foods and heavy meals they add heat to the body. Eat frozen treats.Read more: Division of Occupational Safety & Health (bilingual resources), Center for Disease Control and Prevention Tips for Preventing Heat-related IllnessHeat stroke, which occurs when the body can’t control its temperature, may result in disability or death if emergency treatment is not given. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses a large amount of water and salt contained in sweat. Warning signs of heat stroke vary, but may include: -An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, orally) -Unconsciousness -Dizziness, nausea and confusion -Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating) -Rapid, strong pulse -Throbbing headacheWarning signs of heat exhaustion vary, but may include: -Heavy sweating -Muscle cramps -Weakness -Headache -Nausea or vomiting -Paleness, tiredness, dizzinessIf you see any of these signs for heat stroke or heat exhaustion, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency and should do the following: -Have someone call 911 while you begin cooling the victim. -Get the victim to a shady area. -Cool the victim rapidly with a cool bath or shower, or by sponging with cool water, until body temperature drops to 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit, orally. -If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions. -Do not give the victim alcohol to drink. -Again, get medical assistance as soon as possible.If a victim’s muscles twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke, keep the victim from injuring himself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his side.