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Climate and Environment

How To Survive And Stay Cool In This Heat

An image of the downtown Los Angeles skyline with an orange sunset in the background.
Things are heating up in L.A. this weekend with temperatures over 100 expected in parts of the city.
(Konstantin Sutyagin
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Parts of L.A. County and the high desert can expect extreme heat degrees this weekend. Officials have issued an extreme heat warning for many areas, including Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, and L.A. County mountains.

Now, how can Angelenos and other SoCal residents stay safe and cool this weekend? We've put together this short guide to make sure, as Nelly says, it doesn't get too "hot in herre"...

How Do I Stay Cool?

  • Make sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated (no, this doesn't include coffee or alcohol!). The CDC recommends 2-4 glasses of water every hour to prevent dehydration.
  • Wear light-weight and light colored clothes. Don't forget to bring a hat or umbrella to protect your face and wear sunscreen!
  • Avoid going out during the hottest hours of the day, if you can.

What Heat-Related Illnesses Should I Look Out For?

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Chart outlining heat illness symptoms and what to do in each circumstance
(Los Angeles County Public Health)

Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps all become common in extreme heat situations. Here's what to look out for:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Faintness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Increased thirst

And in more severe cases...

  • Diminished judgment
  • Disorientation
  • Pale and clammy skin
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)

If you encounter a person experiencing these symptoms, move them to a cooler place immediately and try to lower their temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath. In situations of heat stroke, call 911 right away, as heat stroke is a medical emergency.

It's especially important to be mindful of high risk populations - this includes people 65 years and older, infants, young children, people with chronic medical conditions, people who have mental illness, and people taking certain medications.

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Where Can I Go To Cool Off?

L.A. County has set up cooling centers across the county for those experiencing homelessness or those without air conditioning at home. To find your closest cooling center visit or dial 211.

How Do I Keep My Pets Safe?

  • Never leave your pets in the hot car: if you see a pet unattended in a hot car, call 911 immediately.
  • Avoid hot surfaces like asphalt that can burn your pets' paws.
  • Make sure they have enough shade and water.
  • Watch out for heat stress - this can include panting, excessive drooling, weakness, and reluctance to move.
  • Many cooling centers also allow pets! Call 211 to find out which ones allow your furry friends to tag along.

Anything Else I Can Do?

Also, don't forget to save energy when you can...

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How You Can Save Energy
  • Set your air conditioning at 78 or higher. If you can turn it off and use a fan instead, even better. You can pre-cool your house to 72 in the morning hours when there is lower demand on the power system, then when you set it to 78 in the afternoon, it won’t be quite as unbearable.

  • Unplug “energy vampires” -- those appliances that are sucking power from the grid even when they are not being used, like a microwave oven, and phone chargers.

  • Close drapes and blinds to keep your home cooler inside. Turn off unneeded lights.

  • Wait until the early morning or late evening hours to run the washing machine or dishwasher, or vacuum.

  • If you have an electric car, don't charge it in those afternoon or evening hours

  • For those lucky enough to have a pool, do your part by turning off your pool pump.

Stay cool and stay safe this weekend, L.A.!

Updated August 13, 2021 at 3:50 PM PDT
This story was updated to note a heatwave on Aug. 13, 2021.