AUSTIN – Hot weather can be dangerous to human health. As summer heat builds up this week, it’s important to remember some tips to stay cool during periods of excessive heat.
• Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle during hot weather, even for a short time.
• Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid beverages with caffeine, lots of sugar or alcohol.
• Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. When planning to work outside, do it early in the morning or in the evening, during the cooler hours the day. Take frequent breaks when working outside.
• Wear sun block, a hat and loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors reflect heat and sunlight, and help your body maintain normal temperatures.
• Remember that sunburn makes the body’s job of keeping cool more difficult.
• Check with a doctor about the effects of sun and heat in combination with prescription drugs, especially diuretics or antihistamines.
• Stay indoors as much as possible. If you don't have air conditioning, stay on the lowest floor of a building out of the sun. Use electric fans because they help sweat to evaporate, which cools your body.
• Eat smaller, well balanced meals, but eat more often.
• Check on the elderly, children, and those who are ill or have special health care needs. All are vulnerable to excessive heat.
• Make sure pets are provided with plenty of water and shade.
• The signs of heat illness can include dizziness, nausea, headaches and muscle cramps. If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler area and rest a few minutes, then slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if conditions do not improve.
Other weather and emergency preparedness resources can be found at the Department of State Health Services Heat Precautions Web page
or the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org or www.ready.gov