After the deaths of four people in Riverside County earlier this month, all of which are believed to be heat-related, health officials are telling local residents to take extra precautions.
With triple-digit temperatures seen in the county this summer, four people died in the month of July alone, health officials said. The area is currently under an excessive heath watch from July 24 to 25, according to the National Weather Service.
The ages of the victims range from 37 to 91 years old, and while some may have been more vulnerable due to their age or underlying medical conditions, county health officials have said all their deaths were at least partially due to the extreme heat.
Three of them died in Hemet, including an 86-year-old woman and 87-year-old man who were found together at a home on July 8, authorities said. Just a day earlier, a 37-year-old man was found dead at a parking lot in the same city.
Then, on July 16, a 91-year-old man from Bermuda Dunes was found dead at a home, officials said.
In Los Angeles County, another fatality was seen around the time of the deaths in Hemet. As temperatures nearly reached 120 degrees in Woodland Hills, 63-year-old postal worker Peggy Frank was found dead in her mail truck.
While an autopsy had yet to be performed, with her cause of death not determined, her family believe it had to do with the heat. The mail carrier vehicles do not have air conditioning.
This week, temperatures have cooled a bit but they are expected to rise against next week — reaching the triple digits in Riverside County on Monday, according to the National Weather Service. That day, the expected high there is 102 degrees and the highest daytime temperatures are expected to stay somewhere over 100 degrees through Thursday.
“The elderly and the very young are particularly vulnerable to heat, and those with medical issues even more so,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, public health officer for Riverside County, said in a news release.
To deal with the heat, health officials have advised visiting one of 50 so-called cooling centers around the county along with taking other steps.
Among the major points of guidance from health officials are carrying extra water, not leaving children or pets in parked vehicles and watching for symptoms of heat stroke — including headache, weakness or muscle pains, dizziness and nausea and vomiting.
In the Coachella Valley and other desert areas, local residents and workers should limit their time outdoors and “avoid strenuous activities,” health officials said in a news release.