The thermometer is rising and temperatures have hit highs rarely seen in recent years already. Monday’s highs were expected to be 107 in Hesperia, 108 in Apple Valley, 109 in Victorville, 111 in Adelanto and 117 in Barstow (that is just one degree off the record high of 118 on July 5, 2007).

More extreme heat is predicted for today and Wednesday before we begin getting a slight reprieve, but summer is here and it will remain hot — triple digits in most of the High Desert — for the next week to 10 days.

According to San Bernardino County Health Officer Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, everyone needs to take precautions as high or unusually hot temperatures can affect one’s health. Anyone can get heat exhaustion or heat stroke, but certain groups clearly are more at risk of serious problems.

“Those most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with chronic medical conditions,” Dr. Ohikhuare said in a written statement. 

So what do you do? Try to stay indoors if at all possible, whether at home or work. If you don’t have an air conditioner, hang out somewhere that does — the Mall of Victor Valley, your local library or elsewhere. County officials say you can find an air-conditioned Cooling Center open to the public by dialing the United Way’s toll-free resource telephone line at 2-1-1 or by searching online at http://211sb.org/cooling-centers.

Keep your blinds or curtains shut to keep as much heat out as possible. Also wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and avoid outside activities during the daytime.

Other suggestions, courtesy of Dr. Ohikhuare's department, include:

• Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature;

• Stay hydrated. Drink more water more than usual and drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working;

• Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar;

• Check on elderly relatives, friends or neighbors periodically to make sure they are staying cool and drinking enough water. 

For more information, contact the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health at 1-800-782-4264 or visit the National Weather Service Forecast website at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/sgx/ or the California Department of Public Health website at: http://www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov/BeInformed/NaturalDisasters/

Extreme heat advisories are nothing to scoff at and extreme heat can be very dangerous, even in low-humidity areas such as the High Desert. Follow these tips to avoid problems and remember to take care of pets as you would family members. Make sure they have plenty of water to drink and if possible, bring them inside. Can you imagine wearing a fur coat in 108-degree heat?