FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – The Central Valley is heating up and temperatures this week could break records. This is causing concern for health officials in Fresno, who say people who are used to the heat may overlook the dangers that come with triple digits temperatures.
Health officials say heat exhaustion is actually more common than you might think, but many times people overlook the symptoms, and that leads to heatstroke which requires immediate medical attention.
With a heatwave hitting the Central Valley and high temperatures in the triple digits all week in Fresno, health officials are warning people to pay attention to their bodies.
Officials say find shade and water as soon as you notice any signs of heat exhaustion, like muscle cramps, excessive sweating and dizziness.
“That’s the body telling you that it’s in trouble, that something needs to change or we’re going to worsen and go into something else, which is much worse and more critical, which is heat stroke,” said Emergency Medical Services Director of Fresno County, Dan Lynch.
Heatstroke usually happens once your body temperature goes over 103 degrees, and that’s when you should get to a hospital immediately.
Emergency Physician at Community Regional Medical Center, Dr. Rene Ramirez said, “Anything that’s involving the central nervous system, so if you have lethargy, confusion, slurred speech, weakness on an extremity or anything that’s causing concern for you, maybe chest pain, you want to come to the emergency department.”
If your body stops sweating or you have a rapid heartbeat, that could also be a sign of heatstroke.
Health officials say this extended heatwave could be even more dangerous for people with certain medical conditions.
“People that have chronic illnesses, like specifically breathing problems, like asthma, COPD, those types of things, the level of heat and the continuation of the heat levels can worsen or actually just create a real problem for those people that have those types of chronic illnesses,” Lynch said.
Lynch also said their ambulance system has already responded to at least 20 heat-related cases this month. He says heatstroke is preventable as long as you catch those heat exhaustion symptoms early and cool your body down.
For residents who are looking for a place to cool off this upcoming weekend, Fresno has several cooling centers and splash pads open to the public.