County hit by streak of heat |

County hit by streak of heat

The heat that began rolling in Monday will continue through the week, pushing the thermometer into the mid-90s in Grass Valley and Nevada City.

That’s higher than the average of 87-88 degrees it usually is this time of year but not as high as 1972, when a heat wave made Grass Valley soar to 99, 105, 106 and 108 on July 13-16. During those same days in Nevada City in 1972, the heat went to 100, 105, 106 and 104.

While this year’s heat might not be record-setting, residents will still be feeling the burn in the latter half of the week.

“A huge ridge centered over the desert Southwest will build over California through the end of the week,” said Steve Martinez of the weather service. “The hottest days will be Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”

The best things to do to dodge heat and sun-related maladies as the weather warms this week are to stay indoors with air-conditioning and to drink plenty of water.

But there are a number of other ways to avoid heat rash, sunburn, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even skin cancer, according to local medical experts, The Mayo Clinic and the U.S. Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.

If you do not have air conditioning, use fans, take cool showers and, again, drink cold water, not alcohol, coffee or other drinks that could cause your body temperature to rise instead of fall.

To avoid skin burn, rash and cancer, wear sunscreen and protective clothing if you must go outside, said Peggy Williams, an assistant for Dr. Haines Ely, a Brunswick Basin dermatologist.

That sunscreen should be “a number 25 SPF at least,” said Yuba Docs Medical Group clinic Nurse Practitioner Kitty Kelly. SPF is Sun Protection Factor in commercial sunscreens that keeps the sun from baking your skin.

Just wearing a T-shirt provides about 8 to 9 SPF, Kelly said, so wear at least another 15 SPF underneath your T-shirt if you are working or at the beach. Kelly said the sun bakes skin so well that people could wear sunscreen every day.

“Look at the skin on you back and hands,” Kelly said. “They were the same when you were born. Look at what damage you’ve done” with constant exposure.

If swimming, use waterproof sunscreen and get the special, heavy-duty screen for children 3 or younger. If your child is 6 months or younger, avoid all direct sunlight exposure, Kelly said.

To avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke, “fluids are very important,” Kelly said.

“Prehydrate a couple of hours before going to play tennis or golf. When you get thirsty, you’re already way behind in your hydration.”

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