The Los Angeles County health officer has extended a heat alert for the Santa Clarita area that is now expected to last until Thursday. Daytime high temperatures this week are expected to range from 98 to 108 degrees, peaking Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service forecast. Individuals who participate in outdoor activities, older adults, caretakers of infants and children and those sensitive to the heat are especially advised to take precautions as the heat wave passes. “(Extreme heat) can be dangerous and even deadly, but we can protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors if we take steps to remain cool and hydrated,” Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Los Angeles County’s interim health officer, said in a prepared statement. One way residents can stay safe is by visiting a local cooling center, such as Santa Clarita’s three public libraries, or the Santa Clarita Senior Center. The Bridge to Home Shelter recently announced that its doors would reopen in the afternoons this week due to excessive heat. L.A. County recommends calling ahead to any cooling center to make sure seating is available and that the center is still in operation. Other measures residents can take include: Staying hydrated; avoiding sweetened drinks, caffeine, alcohol, or extremely cold water; allowing athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests; paying attention to signs of dehydration; and avoiding unnecessary exertion, such as vigorous exercise during peak sun hours. Coaches, teachers and employers should seek immediate medical attention for those exhibiting signs of heat-related illness, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat strokes. Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. These individuals are advised to stay in an air-conditioned area during peak heat hours. Those without air conditioning in their homes are encouraged to visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks and libraries to stay cool. Under the California Vehicle Code Section 15620, it is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle. Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly, so caretakers must make to give them plenty of cool water to drink and keep them indoors or shaded as much as possible. When traveling with one’s pet, owners should always make sure the ground is comfortable enough for their own skin before subjecting their pet’s paws to the heat-absorbent asphalt. Pets should never be left unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows “cracked” or open. Owners are advised to bring water, a type of collapsible bottle or bowl, and perhaps a towel, as recommended by Shelter of Hope officials in a previous interview with The Signal. The above information was provided to The Signal by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.