With excessive-heat warnings still in effect for Southern California, including the usually cooler Westside community, an emergency physician at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center encourages residents to take precautions to prevent heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses.

Dr. Wally Ghurabi, medical director of Santa Monica-UCLA’s Nethercutt Emergency Center, offers these tips to help residents beat the heat:

n Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, before you become thirsty. Consume alcohol or caffeinated beverages in moderation because they can hasten dehydration.

n Curtail outdoor activities or schedule them early in the morning or later in the afternoon, when the weather tends to be cooler. When going outdoors, wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.

n If you want to exercise, do so in moderation and choose the “cooler” option. For example, work out at an air-conditioned gym rather than jogging outdoors.

n Avoid poorly ventilated buildings and places, if possible. Seniors should try to remain in air-conditioned buildings.

n Wear light-colored clothes and lightweight, breathable fabrics, such as cotton and linen.

n Use fans to cool off warm households and cook with your microwave instead of your stove or oven.

n Do not leave children or pets locked inside cars, even for brief periods of time or with the windows partially rolled down.

n Curtail children’s outdoor activities or at least make them take longer rest periods and more frequent water breaks.

Ghurabi says seniors and those with chronic health problems are the most susceptible to heat-related illnesses and should take extra precautions.