Temperatures here in Texas have been downright sweltering lately. Although people who aren't used to our state's hot weather are more at risk of experiencing heat-related illnesses, even native Texans are in danger of overheating when the temperature climbs into the upper 90s or even into triple digits.
If you're planning on being outside in the sunlight and oppressive heat, it's vital that you stay alert and watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Your body may fail to cool itself down, and as a result, your brain can experience permanent damage. Here are the top red flags you may notice if you or someone else is dangerously overheating.
- Excessive amounts of sweating.
- Feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Extreme fatigue.
- A weak or rapid pulse.
- Muscle cramps.
- Pounding headaches.
As soon as you notice any of those signs, the affected person should be moved out of the heat, preferably into a place with air conditioning. Have the person lay down, then elevate their legs and remove any tight or heavy clothing. Make sure the person drinks plenty of water and consider wiping them down with a damp, cool cloth.
Keep monitoring the overheated person for signs that their heat-related illness is progressing. When things are getting better, the affected individual should begin to feel normal in an hour or less. If the person begins to act extremely agitated or confused, you may need to seek medical treatment. You should also take the person to the hospital if they faint, experience a seizure or run a fever above 103 degrees.
To prevent heat-related illnesses, the best thing you can do is stay hydrated. Kids and adults alike need to drink plenty of water before heading outside and continue hydrating throughout their outdoor activities. This will allow your body to sweat and maintain a healthy temperature.
If possible, schedule your outside activities early in the morning or in the evening to avoid experiencing the hottest times of the day. Also, remember that drinking alcohol can drastically reduce your body's ability to regulate your body's temperature properly.
For more information on heat exhaustion, heat stroke and other summertime health risks, visit WebMD's page. Stay safe, everyone!