By CRISTIN REECE
The Summer of 2013 is only a week old and it’s already shaping up to be a scorcher.
The National Weather Service have issued heat advisory warnings for much of East Texas today, including Palestine and Anderson County, thanks to a strong upper ridge high pressure front passing through the area right now.
“Afternoon high temperatures Friday are expected to soar to between 99 and 102 degrees across eastern North Texas and to between 103 and 107 across western North Texas,” the National Weather Service’s advisory states. “Though high temperatures will be lower across the east, higher humidity levels may push heat indices briefly to around 105 degrees.
“Take extra precautions if you are working outside or planning to spend extended amounts of time outside Friday afternoon and early evening.”
Fortunately, those broiling temperatures aren’t expected to last too long this time – temperatures are expected to fall as the weekend progresses – but may be a precursor to what the area has to look forward to as the season progresses.
The last two years have been the second and third hottest on record – the hottest summer on record, according to the NWS, was 1936. Seven of the top 10 hottest summers recorded occurred since 2002.
Health officials are urging people to become proactive in protecting themselves and their loved ones from possible heat related illnesses, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
The Mayo Clinic’s website, www.mayoclinic.com, states an estimated 175 people a year die from the heat, most usually the very young, the very old and people taking certain types of medications.
Learning to spot the symptoms of heat exhaustion can help prevent the more deadly heat stroke.
“Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion often begin suddenly, sometimes after excessive exercise, heavy perspiration, and inadequate fluid or salt intake,” the Mayo Clinic’s website states.
Signs and symptoms resemble those of shock and may include feeling fatigue, faint or dizzy; nausea and vomiting; heavy sweating; rapid, weak heartbeat; low blood pressure; cool, moist, pale skin; low-grade fever; heat cramps; headache; and dark-colored urine.
Health care professionals recommend these tips when aiding a victim of heat exhaustion:
• get the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned location;
• lay the person down and elevate the legs and feet slightly;
• loosen or remove the person’s clothing;
• have the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine;
• cool the person by spraying or sponging with cool water and fanning; and
• monitor the person carefully. Heat exhaustion can quickly become heatstroke.
Heatstroke is the most severe of heat-related problems, and often results from exercise or heavy work in hot environments combined with inadequate fluid intake, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“Young children, older adults, people who are obese and people born with an impaired ability to sweat are at high risk of heatstroke,” the Clinic’s site states. “Other risk factors include dehydration, alcohol use, cardiovascular disease and certain medications.”
Many symptoms of heatstroke mirror heat exhaustion. Additional signs of the illness can include rapid and shallow breathing; cessation of sweating; irritability, confusion or unconsciousness; and fainting, which may be the first sign in older adults.
If you suspect heatstroke:
• move the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned space;
• call 911 or emergency medical help;
• cool the person by covering with damp sheets or by spraying with cool water. Direct air onto the person with a fan or newspaper; and
• have the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine, if he or she is able.