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How to avoid heat illness during the Northern California heat wave

Firefighters not only get more calls for fires during heat waves, but also more calls for heat-related illnesses.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Local firefighters in the area are expecting a busy week as not only an Elevated Fire Danger but also an Excessive Heat Warning is in place this week in much of Northern California.  

With temperatures in the 100 degrees, firefighters are expecting an increase in calls for possible fires, of course, but also calls related to heat illness.

According to the CDC, heat related deaths are one of the deadliest types of weather-related deaths with more than 600 people in the United States killed by extreme heat every year. With valley highs topping out around 110 degrees, it is extremely important to stay cool, stay hydrated and stay safe. 

Sacramento Metro Fire officials say that during heat waves, they see not only more calls for vegetation fires but also an increase in medical calls for heat exhaustion.

"Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate," said Chris Vestal with Sacramento Metro Fire. "Drink until you feel like you can't have any more water."

Along with drinking plenty of water, even when you're not thirsty some more top tips include staying out of the sun as much as possible.

Make sure devices are charged and ensure that important medicines can be cold stored if power goes out.

"Make sure we check on all our neighbors and all our friends — especially those who might be a little more susceptible with the heat," Vestal said.

It's also important to recognize the different symptoms of heat illnesses if they should occur. Heat exhaustion versus heat stroke can be very different, where the more serious heat stroke can lead to death. 

Credit: KXTV

Here's a list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illnesses common on days where these temperatures occur:

Signs of heat exhaustion

  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea or cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Weakness or confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Pale or clammy skin
  • Muscle cramping
  • Dark-colored urine

Signs of heat stroke

  • Hot, red, or dry skin
  • High body temperature of 103 or higher
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Losing consciousness (coma)

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