Being aware of air quality during the summer season is of utmost importance, particularly for individuals with asthma or respiratory issues, as well as seniors. During the summer months, the combination of high temperatures and increased air pollution can lead to worsened air quality, posing potential health risks. For those with asthma or respiratory conditions, poor air quality can trigger or exacerbate symptoms, leading to difficulty breathing, coughing, and increased reliance on medication. Additionally, seniors may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of poor air quality due to potential weakened immune systems and underlying health conditions. By staying informed about air quality levels and taking necessary precautions, such as staying indoors during peak pollution hours, using air purifiers, and avoiding outdoor activities in heavily polluted areas, individuals can protect their respiratory health and overall well-being during the summer season. 

To see the current air quality index (AQI) in your area, visit AQMD’s online map or download the mobile app

The best way to stay safe during the scorching summer heat is to remember the three key principles: stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed. 

Hot weather can be dangerous and even deadly. Precautions must be taken to ensure health and safety during our summer months. A person suffering from the heat may not realize it. Be aware of the warning signs of heat-related illness, which include: 

  • Heat cramps: Painful muscle contractions, usually in the hamstring muscles.  
  • Heat exhaustion: Dizziness, fatigue, headache, rapid/weak pulse, pale or clammy skin. 
  • Heatstroke: Hot/dry/flushed skin, high body temperature, rapid heartbeat and confusion. 

Stay cool   

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings.  
  • Find an air-conditioned cooling center open to the public by dialing the United Way’s toll-free resource telephone line at 2-1-1, or by visiting San Bernardino County Cool Places to Go 2023
  • Do not rely on a fan as a primary cooling device.   
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day and avoid direct sunlight.  
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and a hat with a wide brim. Also, consider carrying an umbrella. 
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower body temperature.  
  • Stay in well-ventilated areas. Circulation of air helps you keep cool. 
  • Open a window or turn on a fan or air conditioner. 
  • Plan ahead so your outside activities are during the coolest part of the day. 
  • Avoid unnecessary activity and being in direct sunlight or a hot environment. 
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.  
  • Never leave infants or children in a parked car, even if the windows are open.  

Stay hydrated

  • Drink water more than usual and don’t wait until thirst sets in to drink.  
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working.   
  • Avoid liquids containing high amounts of sugar and caffeine. 
  • Make sure family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

Stay informed 

The State has launched an online resource to help Californians stay safer from extreme heat, The website offers tips and resources for Californians, including people most vulnerable to heat-related health concerns, such as older adults, people with disabilities and chronic conditions, pregnant people, young children, urban residents, and those without easy access to air conditioning or natural shade, among others.  
For seniors 

People aged 65 years or older are more prone to heat-related health problems. Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature. They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat. They are more likely to take prescription medicines that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.  
If you’re an older adult or a caretaker, follow these tips on how you or the person you’re caring for can stay safe during the heat: 

  • Check with your doctor. Heat may affect your reaction to certain medications. 
  • Ensure that medications are stored in a cool place and not exposed to direct sunlight, as excessive heat can affect their efficacy. 
  • If you go outside, apply a generous amount of sunscreen every two hours with an SPF rating of 30 or more. 
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Carry a bottle with you when you are away from home. 
  • Have a friend check up on you at different times of the day when it is very hot.  

Seniors can call the Senior Information and Assistance Hotline at 1-800-510-2020 to connect with resources and services. 

For pets   

Pets are vulnerable to high temperatures too but are unable to vocalize their distress. Some signs of heat distress in pets can include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive thirst and vomiting. Help prevent a heat emergency by taking these steps.   

  • Leave pets extra water.  
  • Bring pets inside during periods of extreme heat.   
  • Ensure pets have plenty of shade if kept outside. Remember, the shade pets have in the morning will either change or diminish as the sun moves throughout the day and may not protect them.   
  • Don’t force animals to exercise when it is hot and humid. Exercise pets early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler.   
  • Do not let pets stand on sidewalks or hot asphalt to avoid burning their paws.   
  • Never leave pets in a parked vehicle. Even in the shade with windows cracked, temperatures can reach over 120 degrees inside. The vehicle is quickly turned into a furnace and can kill any animal.  

 Visit for more tips and resources. Stay safe during the summer heat!

Additional County Update News – July 21, 2023

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