Heat Wave continues to bake the Central Valley
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Exposure to the extreme heat can be life threatening. Nationwide, nearly 100,000 people die each year from heat related illnesses. Among the most vulnerable group are the elderly because their bodies respond differently than young people to the higher temperatures.
Here in the Central Valley, when the mercury reaches above 100 degrees, calls to emergency services like American Ambulance also increase.
"We want to make sure you stay safe, keep yourself hydrated get medical attention if needed. If you need to call 911, definitely call 911. And we'll come and get you and help you out," said Paramedic Supervisor Ben Garcia.
Garcia told Action News the agency gets about 700 calls a day between three counties. About 400 of those are in Fresno, he said, and dozens of them are heat related.
"Heat related calls are usually dizziness, as it progresses possibly altered mental status, people who've been out in the heat for awhile," he said.
Among those most affected by the warm weather are the elderly. Health officials say people ages 65 years and older are more prone to heat stress for several reasons.
One, they don't adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature. Two, they are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that upsets normal body responses to heat. And three, they are more likely to take prescription medications that impair the body's ability to regulate temperature and perspiration.
That's why maintenance crews here at the Senior Citizens Village in Fresno make sure residents air-conditioning units are running in tip-top shape.
"Anybody calls with a cooler problem - they're right here. This woman had a water pump rupture at 3 am in the morning. Somebody came out," said resident John Fudge.
Repairman Marlon Evans says he goes door-to-door making house calls and checking in on residents in the more than 700 units each day.
"It's hot up there running back and forth. Yes it is," said Evans.
Meantime, neighbors tell us they also keep an eye on each other to make sure everyone is keeping cool.
"We come out here, if I get desperate I'll put a fan up here and it's pretty comfortable," said Fudge.
If you have elderly relatives or neighbors, you can help protect them from heat-related stress. Health officials suggest visiting older at-risk adults at least twice a day and to watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If they have transportation problems, they recommend taking them to an air-conditioned location like a cooling center. Also, make sure they have access to an electronic fan whenever possible.
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