Excessive heat warning: Know the effects and how to stay safe

Excessive heat warning: Know the effects and how to stay safe

By Emily Nava Staff Writer

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning on July 12 for several Texas counties including Hood.

Temperatures that fall under an excessive heat warning range from 95 degrees to 109 with a heat index of 105 degrees to 114.

The average high temperature in Hood County in July is about 97 degrees and the low is 74 degrees.

“This intense heat we're feeling is because the Gulf of Mexico has been so warm making the air more humid. The fact that we've had good soil moisture and rain for some has made the heat index brutal,” FOX4 meteorologist Evan Andrews said. We had a heat index over 115 a few times. “I can never remember a summer like this…even a hot summer,” Andrews said.

With temperatures these dangerous, it's important to know the signs of heat-related illness such as heat exhaustion, heat rash, heat exhaustion, or in more serious cases, heat stroke, and who could be affected.

Heat exhaustion is a milder heat illness that occurs when the body's temperature regulation system is overworked or exhausted. This can be a result of working in extreme heat combined with improper hydration. Outdoor workers, those 65 or older, pregnant women, overweight people, and people with heart disease or high blood pressure are at greatest risk.

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include fatigue, excessive sweating, thirst, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, and nausea. Progression can lead to confusion, fainting, rapid heartbeat, and loss of consciousness. Heat exhaustion can also turn into heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and rashes, as well as heat stroke.

Heat rash is when the skin becomes irritated due to excessive sweating due to high temperatures and humidity. Symptoms include red clusters of pimples or small pimples that usually appear on the neck, upper chest, groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.

Heat exhaustion is a higher level of heat-related illness that can occur after several days at high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced fluid replacement. According to the CDC, people most at risk of heat exhaustion are older adults, those with high blood pressure, and anyone who works outside in a hot environment.

Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and fainting.

If left untreated, it can develop into heatstroke. If symptoms worsen or last longer than an hour it is important to seek medical care.

Heatstroke is a serious form of heat-related illness. It occurs when the body is no longer able to control its temperature. Your body temperature will rise quickly, and your body will fail to produce sweat, leaving you unable to cool down. It can cause the body temperature to rise to 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heatstroke can lead to permanent disability or death if not treated.

Warning signs of heat stroke can vary from person to person, but can include a body temperature higher than 103, red and dry skin with no sweating, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

Other conditions that can affect the body's ability to regulate its temperature include dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, prescription drug abuse, and alcohol abuse.

To prevent heat-related illness, it's important to do a few things. Stay calm, hydrated and enlightened.

According to the CDC, it's important to wear appropriate clothing, such as light, loose clothing. Schedule outdoor activities carefully by going out when it is cooler, such as the morning and evening hours. Pace yourself and take breaks often in the shade. Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, apply it 30 minutes before you go and keep reapplying.

Stay hydrated by drinking more fluids even if you are not more active than usual. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. It also helps to stay away from sugary and alcoholic drinks as they can cause more loss of body fluids.

Stay informed by checking this week's temperature and be on the lookout for any posted warnings. Knowing the signs of heat-related illness can prevent you or a loved one from running into heat hazards.

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