2016-05-26 / Local News

Officials urge caution during current heat wave

It’s also important to remember to keep your pets cool during the summer

The heat is on in Mariposa County.


With temperatures soaring around the region this week, Mariposa County Health Department officials are urging everyone to be cautious.

Officials recommend everyone drink plenty of water, avoid prolonged heat exposure, minimize strenuous activity, wear sunscreen and recognize when it is time to slow down and take a break.

While in a hot environment, if a person begins to sweat profusely and feel general weakness and/or muscle cramping, officials say it is time to rest in the shade and drink more water.

If you start to experience heat exhaustion and do not rest, heat stroke, a life-threatening condition, can begin quickly.

Heat stroke symptoms include skin that is very hot to the touch and flushed. Signs also include dry or sweaty skin, confusion and unconsciousness, rapid heartbeat and rapid respirations.

If you witness someone suffering from heat stroke or if you feel you are experiencing heat exhaustion and cannot cool off, health department officials say you should call 911 immediately.

If someone is in that condition, they should be moved to a shaded area and any extra clothing removed.

Officials say to try and cool the person by continuous drenching with water from a hose or submerging the person’s legs and trunk in a tub with cold water and ice until emergency medical help arrives.

They added that if someone is confused or unconscious, do not try to give them water or food.

Officials are also urging area residents to check on their neighbors and family members — especially the very young, the elderly and people with medical concerns. Those people are the most susceptible to heat illness and heat-related death.

Anyone with questions or who wants more information can contact the Mariposa County Health Department at 966-3689 or (800) 459-4466.

Don’t forget about Fido

It’s also important to remember to keep your pets safe from summer heat.

Heat stroke is very serious. Symptoms include extreme panting, salivating, staggering, vomiting and diarrhea. As it becomes fatal, your pet will become comatose and their temperature will range from 104- 110°F. 

If your pet is experiencing heat stroke, call your veterinarian immediately – time is of the essence. Use cool water to bring the temperature down; experts suggest soaking towels to use while you are driving to the veterinary hospital. However, do not let their temperature drop below 102-103°F as this can cause hypothermia. 

To prevent this situation, access to shade, ventilation and water are key, as well as avoiding exercise during the peak heat of the day (this is particularly important for short-nosed dogs such as pugs, which cannot cool off by panting as efficiently). 

Sunburn, another danger, will look similar on a pet as it would on a human, and typically occurs in non-pigmented areas that have less or no hair – often the ears and nose in many breeds, or the underside of the belly. 

Since dogs and cats might lick off their sunblock, access to shade is critical. Try to keep them out of the sun from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Aloe can soothe pets’ burned skin, but they’ll need to see their veterinarian if it is severe.

On walks, be careful to avoid hot asphalt, which can burn pets’ feet if they aren’t toughened from exercise, or if it is extremely hot – you can test it with your own hands or feet to be sure. Also, if your pet is thirsty, they’ll be more prone to drink from puddles. This should be avoided in case chemicals such as antifreeze are in the puddles.

You should also avoid leaving your pet in a hot car, where temperatures can soar quickly. Experts say if you can’t take your pet out of the car with you, the animal should not be taken on the trip.

You can visit aaha.org for more pet information.

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