As temperatures and humidity levels in the Houston area soar, Fort Bend County Judge KP George encourages residents to take steps to avoid heat-related illnesses.
Getting overheated can result in heat cramps, heat stroke and exhaustion. Adults 55 years and older, children under 5 years old and those with chronic illnesses are considered high risk and asked to remain inside in air conditioning until 8 p.m. each day. George encourages them to stay indoors between 1 and 5 p.m. even when not under a heat advisory because those are the hottest hours.
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“When temperatures are high, we want everyone to stay cool, hydrated and informed. Those who work outside, senior citizens, infants and children as well as people with chronic medical conditions are more susceptible to the heat and should be checked on regularly to ensure their safety,” said George in a news release.
“For the next few days, we expect temperatures to remain in the mid to upper 90s, and everyone should prepare accordingly,” he added.
George and the county’s office of homeland security and emergency management suggests taking precautions against the summer elements including:
Drink more water. Drink liquids even when you are not thirsty, but try to avoid caffeinated, alcoholic or sugary drinks as they can lead to losing body fluid.
Exercise or do household outdoor work early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperatures are lower.
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People working outdoors should drink lots of water or electrolyte-replacement drinks if their health care provider approves. Take breaks often in the shade or in air conditioning. If you are unaccustomed to working or exercising in hot environments, start out gradually, increasing exposure over several weeks.
Be a good neighbor, and check on the elderly. Take the step of initiating a FaceTime, Duo or Zoom or window-visit with senior adults to watch for indicators of heat-related illnesses. According to the release, a person that is elderly takes nearly twice as long to get back to core body temperature after being out in very high temperatures, and a personal visit, as opposed to a phone call, will help determine their physical condition.
Choose clothing that is light colored and loose fitting to let perspiration evaporate.
Never leave children, senior citizens or pets unattended in a vehicle because temperatures inside can rapidly heat up and become deadly.
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A wide-brimmed hat aids in preventing sunburn and heat-related illness. Also, wear sunscreen to guard against the sun’s rays and decrease your risks of getting sunburned.
If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, take cool baths or showers often.
Electric fans only circulate the air in a room and do not change the temperature, so only use them with air conditioning. Otherwise, your body temperature may increase even though you feel cooler.
Be mindful of heat advisories. A heat emergency is defined by the National Weather Service as when the heat index (a factor of air temperature and humidity) reaches 108 degrees during two or more consecutive days. This heat index poses a health threat for everyone and is acutely perilous for high-risk groups.