Prevention Tips to protect yourself from heat-related illness and death

When temperatures rise, the Houston Health Department encourages everyone to take extra precaution to protect themselves from heat-related illness and death.
High-risk groups such as adults age 55 and older, children under the age of five and people with chronic illness are urged to stay inside air-conditioned buildings between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., the hottest part of the day.
To prevent heat-related illnesses, HHD recommends people:
• Increase water consumption. Drink lots of liquids even before getting thirsty, but avoid those with caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar because these can result in the loss of body fluid.
• Conduct outdoor work or exercise in the early morning or evening when it is cooler. Outdoor workers should drink plenty of water or electrolyte replacement beverages and take frequent breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned facility. Those unaccustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment need to start slowly and gradually increase heat exposure over several weeks.
• Wear light-colored, loose fitting clothing that permits the evaporation of perspiration.
• Do not leave children, senior citizens or pets unattended in a vehicle.
• Use a wide-brimmed hat to help prevent sunburn as well as heat-related illness. Sunscreen also protects from the sun’s harmful rays and reduces the risk of sunburn.
• Seek accommodations in air-conditioned facilities during the heat of the day if a home is not air-conditioned: multi-service centers, malls, movie theaters, libraries, etc.
• Take frequent cool baths or showers if their home is not air-conditioned.
• Stay alert to heat advisories. A heat index of 108 is a potential health threat for all people and is particularly dangerous for high-risk groups.