SoCal's 1st intense heat wave of the summer is here. Doctor offers important tips to stay cool

Denise Dador Image
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Doctor offers tips to stay cool during intense SoCal heat wave
With temperatures expected to soar across Southern California, it's important to be aware of any signs of trouble when it comes to your health.

Emergency room doctors expect Los Angeles' first intense heat of the summer season will land many people in the hospital because so many forget how to navigate heat waves.

So, we need reminders. The elderly lose their thirst reflex as they age and often don't drink enough water. The very young are another vulnerable population.

But adolescents and teens playing sports in the heat can also fall prey to the high temperatures.

It's halfway through summer and for the first time, some young players are experiencing a dramatic shift in the weather.

"The first heat comes and you're like 'oh my goodness! It's so hot!'," said Arcadia High Varsity Baseball Coach Gabe Hyatt.

He's been trying to take it easy on his athletes as they get used to the change.

"It's different seeing these kids sweat a little bit," he said.

"When it's so sunny and hot and so warm they're vulnerable for dehydration," said Dr. Gabrielle Einstein Morrow, medical director of the emergency department at Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital.

She said most people don't realize they're dehydrated and suffering from heat-related illness until it's too late. She said symptoms include nausea, vomiting and they can even become unresponsive.

Einstein Morrow says with high temps expected all week, try to keep outdoor activities to the mornings. But if you're going to be exerting energy outdoors, plan on drinking about a quart of water throughout frequent water breaks.

"We do a lot more than normal. Usually it's just get a drink of water and get back out.. Now we're taking about five minutes," Hyatt said.

Einstein Morrow said athletes need to replenish fluids, but advises against sugary sports drinks and to get electrolytes with water and a salty snack instead.

Other hot weather hacks include a cool cloth around your neck and your wrists.

"You got your big vessels in your neck so if you can cool that down, it goes other places," she said, adding that cooling the radial arteries on both wrists can help.

But doctors say if you're going to be participating in sports in this heat, make sure to take a break when you need to.

"Don't be afraid to step aside and say hey coach, 'I just need to sit down and relax and something doesn't feel right.' You have to communicate that," Hyatt said.

If the heat is making you weak or dizzy, doctors say get yourself into a cool environment, hydrate and cool your body with water spritzes.

Einstein Morrow says that's the first thing she does in the ER because ice baths are no longer recommended. They can cause arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats.