Summer is here and with it, long days under the sun. But as much fun as summer can be, it’s critical to monitor time in the heat. Heat related illnesses like heat stroke are preventable, but can be deadly if left untreated. And with weeks of 100+ highs common in Texas, where America’s ER is based, it’s not uncommon to see an uptick of heat-related visits in July and August. Here are tips for staying safe even in the hottest months.
Early to rise
Lounging at the beach or hiking a trail is part of summer, but heat can catch up to you fast. Avoid physical activity and direct sunlight during the hottest portion of the day, usually from noon till 5p.m. although that time can vary.
It’s best to get an early start and take advantage of cooler morning temperatures, then retreat indoors during the hottest part of the day. Late evening can also be a good time to head outdoors, but be careful, high temps can linger even well after the sun has set.
Everyone knows water is essential, but don’t shrug off this tip because you’ve heard it before. Make a consciences effort to drink water when out in the heat. At fairs, outdoor concerts and other outdoor events, budget to spend money on bottles of water. When hiking or camping, pack more water than you think you’ll need. And even if you’re just taking a quick day trip to paddle board around a lake, don’t forget to bring water.
A shady spot can make all the difference. If you must be out during the heat of the day, stay in the shade as much as possible. Wear loose, breathable clothing, a hat with a brim and sunglasses and put on sunblock– even if you don’t burn easily.
A sunburn isn’t just painful, it’s an indication that you were in direct sunlight for too long. Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, you feel dizzy, overly exhausted, nauseous or even just “off,” tell someone and take steps to cool yourself down. If you notice someone that looks confused or disoriented, take steps to cool them off. It’s easier to prevent heat-related illnesses than it is to treat them.
This bit of advice is something most adults acknowledge and then ignore. But even one alcoholic beverage makes it more difficult for your body to regulate its temperature. Save the drinks for an evening inside.
Obviously, the easiest way to avoid a heat related illness is to avoid the heat all together. The Houston area has plenty of free attractions that are inside away from the heat. Hole up during the hottest days and you’ll be just fine.
Free indoor things to do in Houston:
The Art Car Museum– Admission Free
Blaffer Art Museum– Admission Free
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum– Free Admission Thursdays, 1-5p.m.
Children’s Museum of Houston– Free Admission Thursdays, 5-8p.m.
Contemporary Arts Museum– Admission Free
The Health Museum– Free Admission Thursdays, 2-7p.m.
Holocaust Museum Houston– Free Admission Sundays
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft– Admission Free
Lawndale Art Center– Free Exhibition Admission
The Menil Collection– Admission Free
The Moody Center– Admission Free
Museum of Fine Arts– General Admission Free on Thursdays
Rothko Chapel– Admission Free