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Friday, July 19, 2024

Let's take precautions, the high temperatures are here to stay

Let's take precautions, the high temperatures are here to stay

The high temperatures during the month of July were present due to climate change, and forecasts tell us that the heat will continue to increase. This will not only be an era, but a new way of living. Faced with these facts, society seeks to implement new strategies to stay fresh and safe.

Learning to live in extreme heat conditions is a necessity, but not only today, nor next year, we are not talking about the hottest day or the hottest season, now it is increasingly dangerous to be exposed to heat.

This was stated by Braden Kay, director of the extreme heat program for the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research during a press conference organized by Ethnic Media Services.

Given the increase in temperatures, it should be considered that the most affected communities are indigenous, Latino and Afro-descendant, said Kay, so it is important to work on their empowerment and create new cultural practices in different languages.

In this sense, he said that since they are communities, mostly low-income, they do not have the possibility of having air conditioning at home, and those who do have it cannot pay the high costs of electricity, reasons for which Find a way to support them.

Added to all this, he explained, the communities are not only affected during the day, because at night some can reach up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, an extremely dangerous situation for families who do not have the conditions to bear it and that can even affect them when they are asleep. 

Given this, providing essential information at the federal and state levels is extremely important. Different organizations in conjunction with state departments are supporting communities to prepare in schools, in the workplace and in the environment, from children to adults, taking care of each other.

For Esther Bejarano, director of programs for the Civic Committee of the Valley, trees or shade structures are essential in schools or workplaces, with the intention of keeping places cooler, as well as changing our way of seeing heat , not as a time but as a reality. 

«We need investments, infrastructure, education, we need to educate directly in schools and students to change that cultural behavior», he claimed.

Bejarano recognized that the cooling centers are a good decision if people need to cool down, although the hours seem to be very short, so they are looking for a way to extend the time in support of the community.

Dr. Sharon Okonkwo-Holmes explained the importance of knowing our body and how it works in hot conditions: «we started to sweat as a mechanism of the body to cool us, when the sweat evaporates on the surface of the body, the skin cools and causes the temperature to drop.

However, when sweating is not enough, the body's blood goes to the surface, this to lower the temperature, which can be a risk for some people who suffer from diseases, since the blood does not circulate correctly and does not flowing".

Given this, he said, it is necessary to stay between 96 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise the body stops working and the skin begins to have different reactions to show what is happening. In this situation, the symptoms must be followed to avoid seizures or even death.

The doctor recommended that: in the case of older adults, even if they are not thirsty, they should be consuming water to stay hydrated, drinking 2 liters of water, and if they have air conditioning they should use it until they feel fresh, otherwise a shower helps to refresh.

The specialist also always recommended paying attention to the symptoms: «sIf you feel bad, it is better to ask for help. Many get dizzy and want to rest, but they immediately become unconscious»he added.

Jonathan Pilch, executive director of Watsonville Wetlands Watch, an NGO on community health and environmental issues, said it's important to engage students, consciously educate them about the need for green space and the new normal of extreme heat.

In this sense, he stressed that, for young people, being part of these projects helps them to amplify and multiply many of the positive factors in your mental and physical health, as well as other positive things in your life. 

«For youth, natural disasters cause fear and anxiety about thinking about the future, but the opposite has also been observed with a great deal of hope and optimism in youth-oriented work involved in the process. In this way, it becomes satisfying to be able to multiply the benefits on campus, demonstrating how it can really be resilient to heat and climate change, managing to enjoy the benefits of greening schools»he pointed out.

For specialists, extreme heat conditions should not be taken lightly, long-term projects are being implemented with the certainty that this will continue to be present in the future, which is why we must change our way of life, use sunscreen, hat, stay hydrated, identify a nearby cooling center, know the symptoms of heat stroke, take care of each other and always stay informed about the measures and support provided by high temperatures. 


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