As East Texans, we endure some of the nastiest heat during the summer months.
One week into the actual beginning of summer and it appears it will be another hot one. As usual we had a couple of warning shots fired at us with some mid 90’s for daytime highs. These loosely veiled threats will be validated in the next few weeks with triple digits being a certainty.
Heat Exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration are all serious health threats. Although the heat is real, we will still be involved in our outdoor activities. Preparing for the heat is key to enjoying the summer and avoiding the real dangers of overheating.
Some ideas to keep safe this summer are listed below.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, last summer 134 incidents involving heat related illnesses were handled by the staff at 40 sites. The number one suggestion is to stay hydrated. Water is best as well as sports drinks. Alcohol is definitely NOT the answer. It is recommended to drink 16 ounces of water per hour of being outdoors.
Many families bring along their pets for summer family outings. Remember to bring along water and provide shade for these furry family members.
Sunscreen is also a big part of staying safe. Generous application and reapplying every couple of hours or especially after swimming or heavy activity/perspiration. Smaller kids will need to be monitored closely as the smaller bodies can overheat and dehydrate at a much faster rate than a less active adult. When planning your trip, try to schedule the outdoor activities in the cooler times of day.
Noon to 4:00 pm should be avoided obviously as late afternoon or early morning are much cooler. Summer in East Texas is well known for our afternoon storms. These storms are generated by heat and are usually short lived but can be dangerous with high winds and lightening. Dress for the occasion. Loose fitting, light colored clothing will help. Thin cotton, breathable design of the newer garments is designed for this precise use. The lighter colors will help reflect some of the sunlight.
A large brim hat will help as will some of the cooling bandanas on the market recently. A wet towel is very helpful in the heat and can be wrapped around the neck to help keep cool. If you are planning a trip always leave your destination and location with someone. This is especially true if going alone.
Have an agreed upon time of return so if something does happen, people will have an idea where to start looking. July is bad but typically August is much meaner so keep these ideas in mind throughout the summer.