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Extra precautions must be taken with the temperatures that are currently being experienced to not get overheated and thus reduce the risk of heat stroke.
Parker County Judge Mark Riley said it is important to remember your elderly neighbors and family members or those who are disabled or sick.
“It is conditions like these when someone losing their air conditioning could lead to a tragedy and it can happen quickly,” Riley said. “Take the time to keep an eye on your neighbors, check in on them and make sure everything is okay. It can truly be a life saving action.”
Riley said if people find someone in need of help they should contact the proper authorities immediately.
“Don’t wait around and wonder what you should do,” he said. “If someone is showing signs of heat sickness call 911. It boils down to being a good neighbor and lending a helping hand.”
Parker County’s Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Kit Marshall said keeping hydrated is of utmost importance in weather conditions like the county is currently facing.
“The best way to keep from getting dehydrated is to drink plenty of water even before you are thirsty and it is even more so if you are doing physical work,” Marshall said. “If you are thirsty, you are dehydrated even without sweating. If you notice you are not sweating during work or physical activity you could be at the onset of a heat stroke.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention heat stroke is when your body overheats and no longer has enough water to keep it cool. A person will first stop sweating, and if immediate actions aren’t taken dizziness, weakness or unconsciousness could follow. This can be a life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical attention.
Parker County’s Family and Community Health Extension Agent Kathy Smith said there are many ways to get the proper amount of water in your diet.
“It doesn’t always have to be through drinking just water,” she said. “You can drink decaffeinated coffee and tea, lemonade, sports drinks and other beverages. It is just best to limit the amount of caffeine you consume, as that causes your body to lose water faster. That goes for alcoholic drinks as well, they will dehydrate you fast.”
Marshall said there are some simple steps and facts people should know and take when it comes to the extreme heat.
“Those who are at the highest risk include people 65 and older, children younger than two and people with chronic diseases or mental illness,” Marshall said. “Closely monitor people who depend on you for their care and ask these questions: Are they drinking extra water to compensate for the elevated temperatures? Do they have access to air conditioning and is it working properly? Finally always ask if they need help keeping cool. It may seem obvious but sometimes people will not say anything until they are asked.”
People with the greatest risk for heat-related illness can take the following protective actions to prevent illness or death:
Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned, and using air conditioning in vehicles.
Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
Finally don't forget about your pets!