Bexar County – Texas is hot -- that’s no secret. But health officials said it’s more important now than ever to stay vigilant if you’re heading outdoors.
Even if you feel fine, others may not. The CDC reports the following groups of people are more likely to suffer heat-related illnesses:
- Younger children or infants
- Older adults (65+ in age)
- People with chronic conditions
- People who are pregnant
- Outdoor workers
- People of lower incomes
Scott Moreland, the Helotes fire chief, said his team mostly serves people of these groups when they’re out on heat-related calls.
“Their body systems don’t respond as rapidly and sometimes they may overlook some of the symptoms of becoming overheated or becoming dehydrated,” Moreland said.
He said the rule of thumb for people out working in the heat is to take a break every 20 minutes and drink eight ounces of water.
Moreland said consistent breaks for workers and families playing outside are crucial to staying safe.
“As best as you can, stay out of the heat,” Moreland said. “When you are out working in the heat or gardening, pace yourself. Give yourself a little bit of a preload of water and keep yourself hydrated.”
Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine at UT Health San Antonio and University Health Dr. Ralph Riviello said the best thing you can do is stay hydrated.
“You should just drink lots of water, sports drinks, electrolyte solutions to keep yourself hydrated,” Riviello said. “If you’re going to be out there for a long time, you may want to consider keeping a pack of something sweet, like some honey and maybe some salt packets, in case you get into trouble because you want to replace those electrolytes.”
As pools open up this weekend across the San Antonio area, Moreland said he’s expecting to see more families playing outside. He said understanding the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke is essential.
A person who is suffering from heat exhaustion will likely be dizzy, thirsty, heavily sweating, nauseous, and weak.
Officials said you need to act fast by getting in the shade, drinking cold water and loosening any clothes.
A person who is having a heat stroke will be confused, dizzy and could even become unconscious. If this is the case, officials recommend calling 911 and cooling a person down in the shade with water and ice.