(BCN) — Contra Costa County health officials urged residents Friday to take precautions over the coming days in anticipation of a weeklong heat wave that is expected to push temperatures into the triple digits. With a heat wave across the West Coast likely to push temperatures 10 to 20 degrees higher than normal, county Health Officer Dr. Ori Tzvieli said residents should avoid strenuous outdoor activity and remain indoors in an air-conditioned space when possible and drink more water than normal.

“The cooling at night is not going to be as low as it usually gets in the Bay Area, so the opportunity for the body to cool off is not there,” Tzvieli said Friday. “So it’s really important, particularly during the hot times of the day, for people to try to find a cool place.”

The county plans to offer cooling centers in public libraries, community and senior centers and county offices to help residents beat the heat, especially those who are unhoused. Tzvieli suggested many older residents could be particularly vulnerable to the heat, particularly if they live alone or do not have air conditioning in their homes.

“We’ve … learned in public health over the last several years that heat is a very threatening event,” he said. “Many, many people die and they can die anonymously. It’s just very serious … We really want to make sure that the community is aware, that we take care of each other.”

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In addition to the use of air conditioning, residents can keep their homes cool by closing their window shades or blinds during the day and avoiding use of household appliances like stoves when possible. Those who go outside during the day should also wear sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to avoid overheating, according to Contra Costa Health Services.

Information about cooling centers can be found at https://contracosta.ca.gov. People who are homeless or need help during the heat wave are encouraged to contact the county by calling 211.

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