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San Diego experiencing summer-like heat in winter, health concerns arise

A Kaiser Permanente doctor shares some of the health risks.
Posted at 5:23 PM, Feb 09, 2022

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - San Diego County is heading into a dry and warm spell, bringing summer-like temperatures in the winter.

Kaiser Permanente Doctor Rachel Abbott says the first major heat of the year can be potentially dangerous.

“We aren’t acclimated as a general population because it’s been relatively cool in San Diego for the last couple months so this first heat, we’re reconditioned, so we’re more at risk for all of these health exacerbations,” said Doctor Abbott.

Dr. Abbott adds that this heat can impact a wide variety of people in a wide variety of ways. During extreme heat events, anything from respiratory issues, heart disease, skin cancer risk, and even mental health can worsen. Plus, studies have shown that stillbirths increase when the heat rises, so pregnant women should stay indoors and be extra cautious.

“From the smallest babies children through adolescence all the way through our elderly population, almost every single physiologic system is affected,” said Abbott, adding that mental health can also worsen.

Doctor Abbott has recently been studying the impact of climate change on people’s physical health and health equity and says her studies have shown that heat has a direct impact on a person’s wellbeing. She says the best way to stay ahead of health impacts is to be aware of your personal health and also the weather, and know how to protect yourself.

“I love recommending to my patients using heat index apps and allergy index apps and things like that so they can take control of their health and monitor those trends and make decisions for themselves."

San Diego is expected to hit highs in the 80s this week, which is about 15 degrees warmer than the seasonal average. The full forecast can be found here.