The official start of summer is still a couple of weeks away, but temperatures already are in the upper 80s and lower 90s, with ‘‘real feels’’ in the upper 90s or low 100s. And those ‘‘real feels’’ will be even higher when the temperatures hit the upper 90s and low 100s when the dog days of summer roll around in late July and early August.
Extreme heat affects everyone, but the elderly, children, the poor, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with chronic medical conditions are especially susceptible. That makes now the right time to remind East Texans about some weather-related summer safety tips before it gets any hotter.
■ Know the signs of heat-related illness. Early warning signs of dehydration include a change in mental status or confusion, constipation, sunken eyes, no tears, a decrease in blood pressure but increase in pulse rate, listlessness and decreased urine output.
■ When engaging in outdoor activities, take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors. Also, apply and reapply sunscreen often.
■ Wear lightweight, breathable and light-colored clothing.
■ Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Most health officials recommend a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day. Avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine.
■ Check on your neighbors daily — especially the elderly, who may be more susceptible to heat stress, and those on fixed incomes who may be concerned about expensive utility bills.