Sheesh, It's Hot! How To Find A Cooling Center Near You [UPDATED]
Los Angeles County Cooling Centers are now open to help you beat this oppressive heat. Many libraries and senior centers double as spots where you can get some much-needed AC for free.
Here is a downloadable list of Cooling Centers from Alhambra to Whittier, or you can call the L.A. County Information line at 211, 24 hours a day. Officials advise calling ahead to make sure there is room first. You can also visit their site: 211LA.
If you're on a reduced income and worried about those electricity bills, find out more about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, by calling (866) 675-6623 or contacting your utility provider.
A few time-honored heat safety tips, per the L.A. Sheriffs Department.
- Offer help to your family, friends, and neighbors with limited access to air conditioning and transportation, such as seniors or those who are ill. Check on them frequently or take them to a location with air conditioning.
- Schools, day camps, and non-school related sports organizations or athletes should take extra precautions during extreme heat. Practices and other outdoor activities should be scheduled for very early or very late in the day in order to limit the amount of time spent in the sun and heat. Heat may worsen the effects of poor air quality in areas of heavy smog.
- If you are working or exercising outside, drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty. Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol. Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
- Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.
- Avoid unnecessary exertion, such as vigorous exercise during peak sun hours, if you are outside or in a non-air conditioned building.
Signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration:
- Dizziness, fatigue, faintness, headaches, muscle cramps, and increased thirst. Individuals with these symptoms should be moved to a cooler, shaded place, and given water or sport drinks.
- More severe signs of heat-related illness may include diminished judgment, disorientation, pale and clammy skin, a rapid and weak pulse, and/or fast and shallow breathing.
- Seek immediate medical attention for those exhibiting signs of heat-related illness.
Care for Senior Citizens:
- Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in.
- Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you're on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
- Do not rely only on open windows or a fan as a primary way to stay cool. Use the air conditioner.
Care for Infants and Children:
- It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
- Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
- Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
- Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.
Care for Pets:
- Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows "cracked" or open.
- Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
- Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
- Pets should not be left in a garage as they can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.
- Take special care with "flat-faced" dogs, like pugs and Boston terriers, who are more prone to overheating.
- Per spcaLA, if your pet does get overheated, do not immerse it in cold water all at once: Slowly cool it down, then bring it to the nearest vet.
- If leaving your pet inside alone, make sure it has enough cool, fresh water.
- If you are headed to a Cooling Center, call ahead to see if you can bring your pet with you.
UPDATED, September 5, 10:30 a.m., West Hollywood just announced it has set up a Cooling Center at the Senior Center in Plummer Park.