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AARP AARP States Texas Health & Wellbeing

Hot Weather Tips For Texans

Summers in Texas are scorchers. As the hot-weather season hits, people need to be more careful than ever to stay cool and avoid overheating and illness, particularly as they get older.

Senior woman holds her forehead

Texas temperatures can often rise to triple digits, which can be life-threatening. Those who have a history of high blood pressure, heart, lung or kidney diseases, or are taking certain medications, are often at heightened risk of heat exhaustion, according to the National Institutes of Health. So, it’s vital to know the signs of danger and how to protect yourself.

Recognize and treat signs of dehydration. There are eight telling signs of being dehydrated, and symptoms to look out for when spending time in the heat. Feelings of dizziness or having mouth dryness are normal signs of dehydration.

It’s important to drink plenty of water and be mindful that with drinking a lot of water, the need to use the restroom also rises. Physical symptoms, like having a headache or a dry mouth, are also factors of dehydration. If needed, it’s important to seek shelter in an air-conditioned area until you feel better.

Here are a few tips when facing the summer heat in Texas:

  • Drink enough water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends drinking one cup of water every 15-20 minutes when it’s hot. Energy drinks, caffeine, and alcohol can cause dehydration.
  • Prepare yourself. Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and choose lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Avoid the heat. If possible, stay indoors in the hottest part of the day from 2 to 6 p.m. When you’re outside, take frequent rest breaks in cool places.
  • Keep an eye on children. Never leave children or pets in cars or vehicles.
  • Know your health care options. If you’re not feeling well, get care from medical professionals promptly.

Recognize and Respond To Extreme Heat:

Exposure to extreme heat can create serious health problems, resulting in a condition known as heatstroke. Usually the elderly, the very young, those with other health conditions, and those without access to air conditioning or a source for hydration are most severely affected by heat.

Symptoms of heat exposure complications:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Weak, but rapid pulse
  • Headaches

At first symptoms of heat-related complications, move to a cooler place, rest a few minutes, then slowly drink a beverage, preferably water, for rehydration.

Seek medical attention immediately if conditions do not improve.


Symptoms of heatstroke

If fluids are not replaced soon enough, heatstroke can follow, causing:

  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Confusion
  • Brain damage
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

How to help a person showing severe symptoms:

  • Get the victim out of the sun and heat.
  • Call for emergency medical services.
  • Immediately begin cooling the person with cool/cold water and fanning.

Staying in an air-conditioned area, either at home or in a public place such as a mall, library or recreation center, is the most effective way to combat heat. If air conditioning is not available:

  • Pull the shades over the windows and use cross-ventilation and fans to cool rooms.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Limit the use of stoves and ovens.

Children are at higher risk of becoming dehydrated. Children should be encouraged to drink fluids frequently, especially water, and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.

Check on children often, especially if they are outside in high temperatures.

Other heat precautions:

  • Never leave people or pets in a closed, parked vehicle during hot weather, even for a short time.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Hydrate before going out into the heat.
  • Plan strenuous outdoor activity for early morning or evening when temperatures may be lower.
  • Take frequent breaks when working outside.
  • Wear sunblock, hats, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothes. 
  • Dress infants in the same manner you would dress yourself. Avoid heavy clothing and blankets in hot weather. Ensure infants are well hydrated. Breast or bottle feed more often when in hot environments.
  • Check frequently on the elderly and those who are ill or may need help.

Check with a doctor about the effects of sun and heat when taking prescription drugs, especially diuretics, antibiotics, or antihistamines.

Find a cooling center:

2-1-1 Texas is a free statewide 24-hour information and referral service. By simply dialing 2-1-1, callers can receive information about community and social services, including emergency shelter and local cooling centers.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management also maintains a statewide cooling center locator map. To visit the locator map, go to:

Call 9-1-1 in case of an actual emergency.

Sources of Information:

This article was first published June 13, 2023.

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