North Texas and much of the country is in the midst of extreme temperatures and there are potential dangers associated with summertime heat. The first thing to know is heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable. When thermometers linger in the triple digits and there’s no relief from high humidity, that’s the time to watch for symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is important to know the difference and know what to do in each case.
Both illnesses can occur when the body’s temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down. Sweating is one way our bodies cool down. When it’s really hot outside, the body may not be able to keep its internal temp in check. Heat stroke or heat exhaustion is the result.
Even though young and healthy people can be affected, children and seniors are at a higher risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) other factors elevate your risk of a heat-related illness: heart disease, alcohol and drug use, obesity, mental illness and dehydration to name a few. With over 600 deaths each year from excessively high heat, the CDC recommends you “Stay Cool. Stay Hydrated. Stay Informed.”
REMINDER: Salvation Army Cooling Stations are now open. The Plano (3528 E. 14th Street, 75074) and McKinney (600 Wilson Creek Parkway, 75069) locations are open weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Here is an easy breakdown of the differences between heat stroke and heat exhaustion, as well as what to do:
Graphics courtesy of the National Weather Service