Surviving The Texas Heat
As we reach the middle of July, one thing is certain....It is HOT! It is so important to remember that our bodies react to this heat and we must do our part to keep ourselves as cool as possible to avoid heat related illnesses such as heat sickness and heat stroke.
Heat sickness (also known as heat exhaustion) happens when your body does not stay cool in hot temperatures. Our hot, sunny Texas days increase your likelihood of getting heat sickness when working outdoors or doing outdoor activities. Heat sickness may happen suddenly, without warning. The symptoms of heat sickness are extreme sweating (more than normal); cool, moist, pale, or red skin; weakness; dizziness; headache; or nausea.
Untreated, heat sickness can become heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when your body loses control of its body temperature and overheats to extreme temperatures. You may end up passing out, having a seizure, or even dying if you are not helped right away. Heat stroke may also happen suddenly, without warning. You may have one or more of these symptoms:
- heavy sweating or no sweating at all;
- red, hot, and dry skin;
- pass out (faint);
- seizure (lose control of body and shake);
- high body temperature;
- shallow breathing;
- throbbing headache;
- rapid heartbeat;
- grouchy or irritable;
Heat stroke is very serious and needs fast, emergency care. Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know has any of these symptoms while working outdoors or during outdoor activities.
So, what can we do to avoid heat sickness and even more importantly heat stroke? Here are a few "Texas Heat" Survival Tips:
- Drink liquids all day long. Water is the best liquid to drink.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks, such as soda, coffee, tea, and energy drinks.
- Avoid alcohol, such as beer.
- Eat small, balanced meals.
- Have a buddy to help watch for signs of heat stroke.
- Avoid direct sun.
- Avoid hard work during Texas' peak heat times of 3-6 p.m.
- Take many breaks in cool, shady places.
- Wear a hat.
- Wear light-colored clothes.