Hazardous Weather Warning has Highland Lakes above triple-digits
STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
MARBLE FALLS — Concerns about a rising heat index have prompted emergency officials to send out a warning and offer advice to avoid dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences.
Local first responders say a few precautions can go a long way in preventing heat-related illness and other issues.
“The biggest thing we run into when people are out in the heat and not taking care of themselves (is) heat exhaustion with two parts to that: one of them is being dehydrated and the other is losing the minerals that keep your body going,” said Kevin Naumann, operations director of Marble Falls Area EMS.
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will range in the upper 90s through the weekend and next week; however, forecasters add the heat index will make it feel like 102 degrees and as high as 105.
“We’ve got LakeFest coming up, not to mention just outside activities like regular boat traffic,” Naumann said. “It gives people a lot of opportunity to be in the sun, which is fun, but it also can be dangerous if you don’t take precautions or take care of yourself in the sun.”
The sense of urgency becomes especially heightened due to the time of the year.
The highest number of heat-related deaths occur in July and August with as many as 70 deaths reported in the Lone Star State during a six-year period in those two months, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Most at risk are the elderly, those who suffer from illnesses, and children.
“The main thing to keep in mind is that if you’re hot outside or even just on a sunny day, the vehicles allow heat in and not out, so it makes your vehicle kind of like an oven,” Naumann said. “Whenever you park, it allows things to bake really fast.
“Don’t leave any children or any pets in the car,” he added. “Take your family out with you in the shade and air conditioning.”
Emergency officials offer the following tips to avoid heat dangers:
• Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sun.
• Have oral fluids handy like water and sports drinks; avoid excessive intake of alcohol, caffeine, or sugar-laden drinks.
• Bring along a cooler with iced towels.
• Take frequent breaks when working outside.
• Wear sun-block and loose-fitting clothing.
• Avoid excessive swaddling of infants.
Also, watch for signs of heat-related illness such as headache, mental confusion, nausea, rapid heart beat, vomiting, and muscle cramps.
“You should really take that as a sign that you’re getting too hot. Get into a cool place, a shaded area, to let your body restore itself,” Naumann said.