Staying Cool in the Hot Sun
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say something crazy: it can get hot here in Austin. Yeah, we know- pretty groundbreaking statement, right? Well, thanks to our toasty climate, it’s important to know how to keep cool. After all, temperature-related issues like heat stroke can be deadly.
But that doesn’t mean you should spend all summer cooped up indoors with the AC blasted (although that strategy certainly has its place). Let’s look at some tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe when the temperatures climb up to sidewalk (or in-car) egg-frying levels.
Have fun in the sun by minding the following tips, provided by our Austin, Texas government. Generally, the things to focus on are fluid intake, activity moderation, and appropriate clothing.
- Bring along, and consume, plenty of water, preferably kept cold in a cooler with ice. Cool packs and cloths are also good additions to press upon your searing skin. Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate your body. Ice cream is a good (and tasty) idea too.
- Adorn your form with the proper clothing; think loose and light-colored. Use sunscreen and wear a hat to keep the sun off your face and head.
- Keep drinking that water, more than usual. Do this especially when performing strenuous activity or work, or when outside for an extended period.
- Don’t overdo it- cool down in the shade and take breaks.
- Be especially careful with children, the elderly, and pets. They are more susceptible to heat issues.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Not following the above precautions can lead to serious conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke (heat stroke is the more intense form of heat exhaustion). It’s important to know the signs so you can realize when these conditions are occurring.
The signs of heat exhaustion include:
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale, clammy skin
- Fast, weak pulse
- Dark urine, or lack of normal urinating need.
Signs of heat stroke are:
- High body temperature, above 103 degrees F
- Hot, red, dry or moist skin
- Rapid and strong pulse
- Possible unconsciousness
For more information, including how to help your pets, check out the full page on Summer Safety from the Austin, Texas government website here.
What to Do in the Event of Heat Stroke
If serious heat issues or heat stroke are occurring:
- Call 9-1-1: this is a medical emergency!
- Move the person to a cooler environment
- Do what you can to reduce the person’s body temperature- cool cloths or a bath are two options
- Do NOT give the victim fluids* (as most victims of heat stroke have an altered level of consciousness and cannot safely consume fluids)
*According to austintexas.gov