August 6, 2013
As summer temperatures soar, the Texas Department of State Health Services urges people to be aware of the
signs 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 like
malls, libraries or community centers, is the best way to combat heat. If air
conditioning is not available, open windows, pull down shades to keep out
direct sunlight and use fans to cool rooms.
The best defense against heat-related illness is prevention. Stay cool, drink
plenty of fluids, wear cool clothing and limit strenuous outdoor activities.
Take action at the
first sign of heat illness. Symptoms of heat illness include
heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, nausea, weak but rapid
pulse and headaches. People experiencing these symptoms should find shade,
drink water slowly and make sure there is good ventilation. If symptoms don’t
improve, 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 the
windows does little to keep temperatures down. If your child sits in the back
seat, put your purse, briefcase, wallet or another essential item behind you so
you’ll notice your child is there before exiting the vehicle. Young children
are particularly vulnerable to heat. Call 911 immediately if you see an
unattended child in a vehicle.
Check frequently on
older friends, neighbors and family members. Visit at least
twice a day and watch for signs of heat illness. Assist them with
transportation to places with air conditioning and make sure they know what to
do if they experience heat illness. Most deaths caused by heat stroke occur in
people older than 50 years old. They are more likely to have a medical
condition or be taking medication that can interfere with the body’s response
Drink plenty of water.
Drink liquids 30 minutes before going outside and continue even if you don’t
feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.
Media Contact: Chris Van Deusen, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-776-7753.)
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