The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN students get the heat wave blues

During the eight-day span from Aug. 28 to Sept. 4, CSUN students could be seen in shorts, sandals and sunglasses walking to and from classes.

This may seem like the epitome of a Southern California campus, the reason why so many students choose to attend school in “sunny California.” But if one were to stop and take a closer look, they would have seen sunburn, beads of sweat forming on noses and dripping off eyebrows, damp spots on the backs of shirts and frustrated students trying desperately to keep cool.

There have been 28 reported deaths due to the heat wave that plagued Los Angeles County during the end of August and beginning of September. Articles in the Daily News, Los Angeles Times and MSNBC show how some people were found dead in their cars, one woman died after losing her friends on a dirt bike trail and other people died in their homes because their air conditioners were not working or they simply refused to use them.

With the rising costs of electricity usage during the hottest months of the year, some people felt they’d be saving money by not using their air conditioners. But when it comes to the triple digit temperatures that San Fernando Valley residents experienced, it might’ve been safer to consider other ways to save money rather than sacrificing air conditioning.

The Flex Your Power Web site indicates that turning off electrical devices, rather than leaving them on “standby” mode, can actually save electricity. And the amount of electricity used nationwide by idle equipment is about equal to the output of 17 power plants. Therefore, turning off computers, stereos and DVD players when not in use could allow for more air conditioner usage.

During the heat wave, cooling centers were opened to allow people an escape from excruciating temperatures. In the event of another heat wave, residents of affected communities are urged to contact call centers that offer directions to the nearest cooling center, as well as suggestions and advice on how to deal with the heat.

Some students were concerned about using air conditioning in their cars during the wave.

“Your car actually uses 10 percent more gas when the air conditioning is in use,” said Gilbert Ledesma, a manager at the AutoZone on Reseda and Parthenia. Therefore, it might be necessary to cut back on expenses during the summer months in order be able to afford gas,and use the car’s air conditioning system.

“It was too hot, and not using my car’s AC was not an option,” said Bre Onna Mathis, who commutes to CSUN from Reseda Boulevard and works in Moorpark, forcing her to spend long periods of time in her car.

“If I were low on funds during the heat wave and my gas was low, I wouldn’t try to save gas by not using the air conditioner. I would just have had to take out a slight loan with my parents,” Mathis said.

“I had a couple of athletes and a few freshman come in during the heat wave,” said Anita Rajan, full-time physician at the Klotz Student Health Center.

“They didn’t realize it was the heat.

“They said they felt extremely tired, some experienced dry heaving. And they felt they had a fever, but they didn’t realize that it was their body temperatures that were high,” Rajan said. “Many said they experienced abdominal pain. That was the most popular symptom.”

Rajan said since we don’t have much humidity in Southern California, the heat can be harder on us. When the temperatures reach triple digits like they did about a week ago, the dry heat is actually hotter than it feels.

In the event of another heat wave, it’s important for CSUN students to remember to stay hydrated, wear light, cool-colored, cotton clothing, stay in shady spots and, if possible, go to an air conditioned area.

“Replenishing the body’s fluids is the most important precaution,” Rajan said. “But there are some liquids that we drink every day that can actually cause dehydration.” Drinking alcohol, coffee and even tea can speed up the process of dehydration.

“Don’t leave your pets in the car,” Rajan said. “They have fur and the only way that dogs can sweat is through their tongue,” Rajan said.

“If you realize your dog is drooling or panting rapidly, you should give your dog water, take your dog too a cool place, or splash water on your dog’s face, just like a human,” Rajan said.

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