Heat prompts health concerns

If your air conditioner, whether it’s at home, your office or your car, is not cooling properly, it’s time to get that malfunctioning piece of equipment fixed because you’ll definitely be needing it next week.

Temperatures are expected to reach triple digits by Monday.

According to the National Weather Service in Hanford, Merced residents will see a high near 103. Tuesday will remain sunny and hot with a high of 104, and Wednesday will see only a one-degree difference when the temperature falls to 103, forecasters predict.

The hot weather is expected to last until Fourth of July weekend. Thursday’s temperatures will reach a high of 97 and Friday is expected to hit 96, according to the weather service.

No cooling centers are expected to open in Merced County. Cooling centers are opened only when temperatures exceed 105 degrees for three consecutive days, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection/Merced County Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeremy Rahn.

Heat-related illnesses usually accompany rising temperatures, so the California Office of Emergency Services reminds residents to stay cool, hydrated and informed.

The office recommends that people limit their exposure to the heat and stay indoors in air conditioning. Wearing light clothing and drinking two to four cups of water every couple of hours is also advised.

Gusty winds of up to 15 mph are anticipated for Thursday night.

These winds tend to pick up dust particles and pollution that may aggravate asthma, bronchitis and lung issues, according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

People with asthma or other lung diseases are advised to follow their doctor’s instructions about medications and their asthma management plans.