DSHS Offers Hot Weather Precautions
August 6, 2013
As summer temperatures soar, the Texas Department of State Health Services urges people to be aware of thesigns of heat illness and to take precautions to protect themselves from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
The elderly, young children, people with chronic diseases and those without access to air conditioning are most at risk.
Staying in an air conditioned area, either at home or at public places likemalls, libraries or community centers, is the best way to combat heat. If airconditioning is not available, open windows, pull down shades to keep outdirect sunlight and use fans to cool rooms.
The best defense against heat-related illness is prevention. Stay cool, drinkplenty of fluids, wear cool clothing and limit strenuous outdoor activities.Other precautions:
Take action at thefirst sign of heat illness. Symptoms of heat illness includeheavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, nausea, weak but rapidpulse and headaches. People experiencing these symptoms should find shade,drink water slowly and make sure there is good ventilation. If symptoms don’timprove, seek medical attention.
Never leave anyone,including pets, in a parked vehicle – even for a short time.Vehicles can heat up to deadly temperatures within minutes. Cracking thewindows does little to keep temperatures down. If your child sits in the backseat, put your purse, briefcase, wallet or another essential item behind you soyou’ll notice your child is there before exiting the vehicle. Young childrenare particularly vulnerable to heat. Call 911 immediately if you see anunattended child in a vehicle.
Check frequently onolder friends, neighbors and family members. Visit at leasttwice a day and watch for signs of heat illness. Assist them withtransportation to places with air conditioning and make sure they know what todo if they experience heat illness. Most deaths caused by heat stroke occur inpeople older than 50 years old. They are more likely to have a medicalcondition or be taking medication that can interfere with the body’s responseto heat.
Drink plenty of water.Drink liquids 30 minutes before going outside and continue even if you don’tfeel thirsty. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.
(NewsMedia Contact: Chris Van Deusen, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-776-7753.)
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