Near triple-digit temperatures are hitting Southern California again. Older residents can feel more distress from heat and humidity and often have fewer options for beating the heat. The City of Lakewood wants to remind seniors that the air-conditioned Weingart Senior Center is a comfortable oasis, especially during the hottest time of the day–from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Seniors can use the free DASH Transit service as transportation to Weingart if they can’t drive or don’t have a ride. For more information on DASH, call 562-924-0149.
Weingart Senior Center is located at 5220 Oliva Avenue and can be reached at 562-630-6141. Its hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The facility is closed on Sundays.
Several other city facilities offer relief from the heat during business hours:
- Bloomfield Park Community Center, 21420 Pioneer Boulevard, 562-865-1717
- Mae Boyar Park Community Center, 6701 Del Amo Boulevard, 562-925-6912
- Burns Community Center, 5510 Clark Avenue, 562-925-7512
- The Centre at Sycamore Plaza, 5000 Clark Avenue, 562-866-9771, extension 2800
- Lakewood Youth Center, 4658 Woodruff Avenue, 562-429-7472
- Mayfair Park Community Center, 5720 Clark Avenue, 562-866-4776
- Palms Park and Community Center, 12305 207th Street, 562-865-6414
Beating the heat: Prevention is the key
Getting out of the heat is a healthy decision. Elderly residents who live alone and infants are at highest risk for getting heat-related illness caused by overheating and dehydration.
“It starts with dehydration,” says Cyrus Rangan, director of the L.A. County Department of Health Services Toxic Epidemiology Department. “The body doesn’t get enough water to do basic functions,” Rangan notes. “Your blood pressure dips, heart rate goes up, cardiovascular system breaks down. There is less blood flow to your lungs, heart, and kidneys. Your muscles cramp and you get very thirsty and confused.”
Rangan suggests staying inside an air-conditioned room at midday or anytime it’s hotter than 90 degrees outside. Libraries, Lakewood Center mall, movie theaters and supermarkets also are good places to spend time rather than swelter.
Suggestions for staying cooler
- Stay in the shade and out of direct sunlight.
- Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going outside. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of fluids.
- Take a slightly cool bath or shower.
- Put cool, damp towels on your body.
- Use fans to keep air circulating.
- Avoid strenuous activities. If engaging in strenuous activities, pace yourself and rest frequently.
- Wear light-colored, lightweight, loose clothing made out of a material that allows sweat to evaporate such as cotton.
- Avoid synthetic materials like polyester.
- Protect your head and neck when outside by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or using an umbrella.
- Drink frequently to replace fluids lost by sweating. Avoid fluids containing alcohol, caffeine or salt. If you have a problem with retaining water or a special medical condition, check with your doctor about the amount of fluids you should be drinking.
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals, since it adds heat to your body. If you use a stove, try to cook during cooler times of the day.
- If you live alone, ask a friend or relative to check on you at least twice a day.
- Don’t ignore the warning signs of heat stress.
- Contact a doctor or other health care provider if the mild signs of heat stress continue for a prolonged period after taking these actions.
- Contact a physician immediately if you are experiencing any of the following serious symptoms of heat stress: breathing problems, chest pain, muscle cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, dry skin (no sweating), great weakness, mental changes, confusion, nausea, rapid heartbeat, throbbing headache, extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit when taken orally) and/or vomiting.
The mildest form of heat-related illnesses is heat cramps, when the body loses water and electrolytes. Heat exhaustion is more serious, and will cause the body’s temperature to rise to 102 degrees. People may also experience headache, fatigue, heavy sweating, nausea, and clammy skin.
Heat stroke is the most severe heat-related illness. Extreme exertion, like running very fast in hot, humid weather, causes your body temperature to rise to 104 degrees and more, and can cause more severe symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, a speeding pulse and disorientation. Last year, a dozen people died of heat stroke in Los Angeles County.