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Staying Safe in the Texas Summer Heat

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 6/02/2022

It is finally summer, ATPE! While enjoying a well-deserved summer break, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind to stay safe while out in the sun and having fun given the infamous Texas heat.

Among the most dangerous heat-related illnesses are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, a fast/weak pulse, nausea, tiredness or weakness, dizziness, and headache, among others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of heat stroke include body temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, hot and red skin, fast pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, and loss of consciousness.

If you think you are suffering from heat exhaustion, move to a cool place, use a wet cloth to cool down or take a cool bath, and sip water. The CDC recommends medical assistance if vomiting occurs, symptoms continue to get worse, or symptoms last longer than an hour. Heat stroke is always an emergency, however. Be sure to call 911 if you believe someone is suffering from heat stroke. Again, moving to a cooler place and using a wet cloth or a cool bath to cool down are recommended—but in the case of heat stroke, do not give the person anything to drink.

Texas has one of the highest rates of heat-related deaths among all the states. From 2004 to 2018, there were 10,527 heat-related deaths in the United States, according to the CDC. Arizona, California, and Texas recorded 3,852 deaths, nearly a third of the total deaths in the country.

Heat stroke is also a leading cause of death in sports, according to Health Research Funding. The survival rate for heat exhaustion is 100% when treatment is given immediately. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be hot outside to experience a heat-related illness. The inside of a car can reach 110 degrees when the temperature outside is in the 60s, and 619 children have died in vehicles from the heat since 1998.

The CDC provides a graphic to teach yourself and others about heat-related illnesses and what to do when they occur. The National Safety Council also provides statistics and more tips on treating heat-related illnesses. Of course, in the event of emergency, always call 911.