Here in Texas, we take our heat pretty serious.
Even though Texans can fry an egg on the sidewalk, pop tar bubbles with toes, and get a tan in 10 minutes, that doesn’t mean folks in the Lone Star State don’t take heat seriously. Real serious. 100 degree weather with 70% humidity = frighteningly high heat indexes.
When temps SOAR, who needs the most attention?
- Hard-headed teens
CDC Warning Signs for Heat-Related Illnesses
So those are the medical specifics . . . but what actual steps do folks who bake in six months of heat follow?
- No SKIMPING on water consumption!
Room temperature is fine. My farm-boy daddy swore that when you were really hot nothing beat a glass of regular temp H2O. He didn’t want his glass clinking with ice. ‘No sir,’ he’d say, ‘just gimme me a tall glass of tap water.’ Whose to argue with a man who grew up picking watermelon and corn from a field, and shooing cattle from pasture to pasture? Now, the ‘crik’ water? That he wanted cold.
Parenting independent-minding teens is always a challenge, but parents should make certain that teens carry water bottles when headed out for a game of pick-up basketball or an afternoon at the skate park. Refillable (makes the green crew happy) and many parks now sport the higher drinking fountains designed to refill bottles. Parents: emphasize to teens that any fast food restaurant will provide water when asked. The fries . . . they’ll need to buy.
- Shade, shade, and more shade!
- Perch a hat up TOP!
But remember to make it a breathable hat. Closely woven fabric doesn’t allow the head to breathe. Yes, that’s right breathe. Old myths prophesied that 40 to 45% of the body temp escaped through the head. Some go old-school and believe that wearing a hat makes a body hotter. NOT TRUE. 1st — According to research from 2008, only 7 to 10% is lost through the noggin, reports Life’s Little Mysteries. 2nd — Consider walking a shady path, sitting beneath a cafe umbrella, or even a bus stop awning . . . shade that protects the surface of the head will keep body temps down. Besides, who doesn’t like to pull off a nice-sized hat and fan themselves? Not you! Then you haven’t been hot enough, yet.
- Protecting pets!
If you can’t stand on the concrete–barefoot–for 5 seconds then it’s too hot for your dog to walk. People generalize that because dogs come with leathery pads that the surface temperature doesn’t affect their furry companion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Serious pet parents know that walking during the heat of the day is to foolishly court overheating for critters & themselves. Morning & evening are the ideal dog-walking times. Remember, too, if it’s hot enough for the walker to have a bottle of water then the walking sidekick needs a drink as well.
Additional pet tips:
I love that several of the local news stations are posting heating tips as to when it’s safe to walk a dog. ‘Green Paws’ in the forecast mean it’s an okay time to walk. ‘Yellow’ or ‘Red’ paws: keep those pups inside. From a local dog-whisperer: place your hand – palm down – on the surface (street, sidewalk, asphalt) and hold it for 10 seconds. If it’s TOO hot for your palm, it’s too hot for paws. And always remember that your pet is wearing a FUR coat.
- Always . . . always . . . always check a car backseat when exiting the vehicle.
Have kids? Check the backseat.
Don’t have kids, but kids live in the neighborhood? Check the backseat.
Don’t have kids, but leave your car windows down for cooling when it’s parked in your drive? Check the backseat.
Getting the picture — always, always check the backseat.
This demonstration shows 80 degrees. For those who live where summer has more of a bite and day-time temperatures can hit 95 to 100, internal car temps can reach 150 within minutes.
Check your car’s backseat!
- Finally, keep an eye on the sky. Or at least a weather APP tuned in.
Spring into Summer can turn vicious: quick-building thunderstorms, flashflood warnings, and tornado watches. Don’t speak weather-ese on approaching cold fronts & stationary hot troughs? Rising barometric pressure & potential wall clouds make your head spin? Then make certain to have a weather APP with alarms downloaded to your mobile device. Lakes, parks, family outings are all things meant to be enjoyed during summer months, but being cognizant of rapidly-changing weather conditions can save lives. Yours and those you love.