The South Is Boiling. Staying Safe in the Heat

It’s hot in the Southwest. Hot in the Southeast. Hot in Texas. Hot most everywhere in the U.S. and southern Canada.

And Utah has been feeling the full force of summer with temperatures this past week hovering in the high 90s and threatening to tip over into the 100s. The National Weather Service has actually reported high temperatures surpassing the 100 degree mark. With all this heat, spending time outside doing favorite recreation activities can get dangerous. Here are some facts to help you stay safe during this high heat.

© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sand Hollow State Park, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There’s an app for that

The OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool app calculates the Heat Index based on your current location, gets a risk level, and provides recommendations to prevent heat illness.

For families, the app can show the hourly heat index view to plan outdoor activity based on your location.

For campers and other RVers, the App allows users to calculate the heat index for their location, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level for outdoor activities. Then, you can get reminders about the protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect people from heat-related illness-reminders about drinking enough fluids, and planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency.

Colorado River near Ehrenberg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Colorado River near Ehrenberg, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Know the signs and symptoms

If you’re participating in outdoor activities, its best to know the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Heat stroke

  • Very high body temperature
  • Red, hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Confusion, slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness

Heat exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Light-headedness
Padre Island Birding Center, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Padre Island Birding Center, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

First aid

If someone is having a heat stroke, it is considered a medical emergency and help should be sought immediately. Move the individual to a shady, cool area and remove outer clothing. Fan air, and place cold, wet towels or ice on their body.

For heat exhaustion, also seek medical treatment, remove the individual from the hot area and give them liquids to drink. Remove unnecessary clothing, and cool them with cold compresses. Remove them from the heat.

Folly Beach, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Folly Beach, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Your pets

Like humans your pets and animals are also affected by extreme heat temperatures.

Things to remember, as urged by the Red Cross:

  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat
  • Never leave pets alone in enclosed vehicles
  • Ensure that your animals’ needs for water and shade are met

When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt, according to the SPCA. Being so close to the ground, your animal’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Precautions

Some precautions to take during a heat wave include:

  • Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol
  • Wear loose, light colored clothing
  • Eat small meals and eat more often
  • Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest point of the day
  • Stay hydrated

Worth Pondering…

DRINK WATER. Make sure everyone, including pets, stays hydrated.

Leave a Reply