Heat safety reminders as weekend temps exceed 100°

Weather

(Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — With high temperatures hotter than 100° for at least the next week, it is important to take precautions to stay safe in the heat.

Between Austin’s ‘Pride Parade’ on Saturday, nearly-full lake levels at Buchanan and Travis, many Texas will be out in the sun this weekend — here’s what you need to know before heading out:

  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Avoid strenuous activity during peak afternoon hours
  • Take frequent breaks in the shade
  • Watch for heat related illness: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke
  • Check on pets, young children & the elderly
Heat-related illness symptoms — via NWS.

HEAT EXHAUSTION:

Symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cool, pale, clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Possible muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

First Aid:

  • Move person to a cooler environment
  • Lay person down and loosen clothing
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of the body as possible
  • Fan or move victim to air conditioned room
  • Offer sips of water
  • If person vomits more than once, seek immediate medical attention

HEAT STROKE

Symptoms:

  • Altered mental state
  • One or more of the following symptoms: throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing
  • Body temperature above 103°F
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Faints, loses consciousness

First Aid:

  • Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 911 or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
  • Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment.
  • Reduce body temperature with cool cloths or bath.
  • Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s. A fan can make you hotter at higher temperatures.
  • Do NOT give fluids.

The addition of humidity to excessive heat will quickly decrease one’s level of comfort and the ability to cool off. Sweating is our body’s way of regulating temperature. Drops of sweat dry by evaporation, a cooling mechanism. When there is more moisture in the air, evaporation isn’t as efficient. Therefore, it makes it tougher on our bodies to cool off. Below is a “Heat Index” chart which shows what the temperature “Feels Like” when you combine heat & humidity:

To calculate the heat index in your neighborhood, use this calculator: https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/html/heatindex.shtml

More information can be found at https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat-illness (NWS) & http://austintexas.gov/heataware (City of Austin) websites.


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