Summer is supposed to be over but people who live in California are scorched by an autumn heat wave. The temperatures here have hit up to triple digits on Saturday.

The heat ranged from the low 90s in San Francisco Bay Area to over 100 in the suburbs of San Bernardino County but while the extremely hot weather is unusual, it is not the first time that California experienced intense heat during this time of the year when temperatures are supposed to be in the high 70s. In Oct. 3, 1987, temperature in Los Angeles hit 108.

"It's hot but not record-breaking hot," Stuart Seto, from the National Weather Service told the Associated Press.

Authorities have already adopted measures in response to the hot weather. Los Angeles County has opened a number of cooling centers in libraries and community centers. About 76,000 students were also sent home by the Long Beach Unified School District an hour earlier last Thursday and Friday so they can get out of their class before hottest part of the day strikes. People were also urged to set their thermostats at 78 degrees.

Health officials have warned that very hot weather can make people sick particularly the elderly, very young children and those with chronic illness. Exposure to heat can also be fatal. From 1999 to 2009, heat exposure has caused the death of over 7,000 in the U.S.

Fortunately, there are several ways on how one can keep cool during the hot weather and reduce odds of getting sick. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that air-conditioning is the number one means of reducing risks of heat-related illnesses and deaths. Individuals who do not have air-conditioning units, however, can settle to spending time in air-conditioned public facilities. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, even if one does not feel thirsty is also advised as this keeps the body hydrated.

Consuming larger meals could cause the body to produce more metabolic heat so eating small meals more often and avoiding high protein foods would be a good idea. Running the wrists in cold water for at least five seconds every few hours could also help cool the blood because a main vein passes through here. Spicy foods such as curries and chilies can also cause sweating which helps cool down the body.

Remember to also avoid engaging in strenuous activities that can stimulate the body and raise its temperature.

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