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Summer is heating up in central Texas! Temperatures are finally hitting the triple digits and the heat index in the afternoons is predicted to reach up to 104°F. The National Weather Service has forecasted sunny and hot weather with highs approaching 100°F for the foreseen future. With this extreme heat comes a renewed focus on heat safety. Beat the dog days of summer with these 10 tips to stay safe and cool this summer:

  1. If possible, avoid spending time outside during the peak heat (usually between 10am and 3pm). Try to plan your outdoor fun for early morning or late afternoon.
  2. Water, water, water! Don’t go thirsty – drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Don’t forget to fill your water bottles before leaving home.
  3. Wear light, loose clothing and don’t forget your hat.
  4. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Sunburns result in dehydration and make it harder for your body to cool down quickly.
  5. Avoid hot foods and drinks, which can actually heat up your body. Make sure to eat light, well-balanced meals regularly.
  6. Seek out shade often if you must work outside.
  7. Cover windows to reduce the heat in your home.
  8. Check in with your elderly neighbors, friends and family.
  9. Bring your pets indoors, and make sure their outdoor spaces have plenty of shade and water.
  10. Avoid small, enclosed spaces. Never leave a child or pet in a closed vehicle. Place your purse or phone in the backseat to remind you to check the back.

Signs of heat-related illness and exhaustion include:

  • Muscle cramping or involuntary spasms
  • Excessive sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cool, pale, clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

If you experience or witness someone with these symptoms, cool off by moving out of the heat, lying down, and removing or loosening clothing. Heat exhaustion can quickly lead to heat stroke, which is a serious medical emergency.

Seek medical attention immediately if you observe these symptoms of a heat stroke:

  • High body temperature of 103°F or higher
  • Altered behavior, confusion, slurred speech, or agitation
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid breathing and a racing heart rate
  • Throbbing headache

For more information and a wide spectrum of heat safety resources, please visit The National Weather Service at www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat

Freddy Krail
Manager of Safety and Emergency Management
St. David’s Medical Center

George Gumbert
Director of Emergency Services
St. David’s Medical Center

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