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Keeping Your Family Safe in the Texas Heat

Keeping Your Family Safe in the Texas Heat | Physicians Premier Health Tips | Texas ER

Summer is in full swing! For residents in Austin, Texas, this means sweltering heat for months to come. The National Weather Service pointed out that heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities every year in the U.S., resulting in hundreds of deaths. Hence, it is imperative that families take certain precautionary measures to protect themselves for a happy and safe summer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat-related illnesses happen when your body cannot compensate and properly cool you off. At Physicians Premier, your Austin emergency room, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of preventing heat-related illnesses.

Heat illness prevention can be summed up in three things: Rest, Water, and Shade. Getting plenty of these three when outdoors is the best way to stay out of trouble. Here are additional tips for staying safe:

1. Maintain your air conditioning unit. Air conditioning is one of the best ways to beat the heat! Keep your AC unit in tip-top shape this summer with regular maintenance and regular filter changes. Installing weather stripping on windowsills and doors will also keep the cool air in and the hot air out.

2. Cover windows. Use shades or drapes for windows that receive the morning or afternoon sun. Doing this will help lessen the heat entering your home by at least 80%.

3. Dress for the summer. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, and lightweight clothing in breathable fabrics like cotton. Use a wide-brimmed hat and apply adequate sunscreen to keep the sun at bay. Remember, getting a sunburn will make it hard for your body to cool itself.

4. Hydrate, especially when temperatures are high. It is important to consume at least a gallon of liquid per day. Water is best, as drinking carbonated beverages, alcohol, and liquids that contain caffeine when temperatures are high might lead to dehydration.

5. Supervise children during outdoor play, and make sure to remind them to stay in the shade and hydrate whenever possible.

Know the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion

Heat stroke occurs when the body has an abnormally elevated body temperature. The symptoms of heat stroke are sometimes similar to a heart attack or other health conditions. Nausea, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, headache, and trouble breathing are common symptoms that signal that the body is overheated.  

Typically, a person may manifest symptoms of heat exhaustion before it escalates into a heat stroke. They include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, vomiting, and weakness.

Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency that can lead to organ damage, even death. If you or anyone around you is showing the symptoms outlined below, call 911 immediately or go to your nearest Austin emergency room.

  • High body temperature
  • Flushed or red dry skin
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid pulse
  • Seizure
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
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