How To Keep Your Cool During This Texas Heatwave

high_tempThe Dog Days of Summer are upon us again!  The high temperature yesterday at Majors Field was 103; and, as of 1:45 this afternoon, according to Weather Underground, the temperature was 95 degrees with a heat index of 109.

And, according to various forecasts posted throughout the media, relief doesn’t seem to be in sight as high temperatures are at or above 100 degrees for the foreseeable future.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health offers these tips for the prevention of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
    • Infants and young children
    • People aged 65 or older
    • People who have a mental illness
    • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

Of course, some occupations, such as auto repair, construction, welding, agriculture, lawn maintenance, and plumbing, must be performed outdoors.  If you are working outdoors for any reason, here’s how to reduce your risk of getting heat stroke or heat exhaustion:

  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

Having written that, this would be a great time to get a snowcone from Texas Snow, some frozen yogurt from SweetFrog, or a Dairy Queen Blizzard – whatever tickles your fancy.  Either way, stay safe and stay cool, because this Texas heatwave isn’t going anywhere too soon.

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