Just trying to stay cool on the hottest day of the week

(Photo by Michael Hurcomb/Corbis via Getty Images)

On what’s expected to be the hottest day of the week in the Bay Area, everyone has the same plan, “Just trying to find a cool spot,” said Gay McDaniel from Fremont.

Those, like McDaniel, who don’t have air conditioning have to find creative ways to cool off and shelter in place restrictions limit what you can do.

Parks and beaches have been go-to spots, but before the pandemic there were more options like walking around a mall, checking out a museum or movie to pass time in a heatwave, but health orders shut those down.

Cooling centers are also closed.

In San Jose, typically when temperatures reach 97 degrees, cooling centers like community centers or libraries open to the public.

“They would not allow for social distancing so we, unfortunately, can’t open the cooling centers,” said Carolina Camarena with the San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation, Neighborhood Services.

There are no alternatives to cooling centers in Santa Clara County right now, so officials say the safest place to be is to be home. It’ll lower people’s risk of heat-related illness and also helps slow the spread of coronavirus.

Santa Clara County shared this list of tips to stay cool and safe.

  • Drink plenty of water and beverages containing electrolytes even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar because they will speed up fluid loss.
  • Limit physical activity: Avoid physical activity during the hottest time of the day—10 a.m.-3 p.m
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed, parked car.
  •  Cool off by taking a bath or shower: Cool, plain water baths or moist towels work best.
  • Wear cool clothing: Lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing can help you keep cool. Cotton clothes are good because they let sweat evaporate.
  • Do not bundle babies: Babies do not handle heat well because their sweat glands are not fully developed. Do not put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
  • Cover your head: Wear a wide-brimmed, vented hat or use an umbrella when outdoors because your head absorbs heat easily.
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen: Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher when outdoors.
  • Rest often in shady areas: Find shady places to cool down when outdoors.

People taking medications should take extra precautions to stay out of the heat as certain drugs such as stimulants can increase body core temperature, and with expected hot weather this week, may predispose individuals to hyperthermia. 

For additional heat safety tips (in English, Spanish and Vietnamese), please visit https://bit.ly/heatsafetytipsSCC.