When the heat index rises above 108F for two days, the National Weather Service may issue a Heat Advisory.
The Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature. This is better explained as what the heat “feels like” rather than the actual temperature outside.
What Should I Do?
When extreme heat occurs, Houston residents should take steps to reduce their exposure. The Houston Health Department recommends that residents take the following steps to keep themselves cool:
- 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 actually 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.
- A wide-brimmed hat helps prevent sunburn as well as heat-related illness. Sunscreen also protects from the sun’s harmful rays and reduces the risk of sunburn.
- If the house is not air-conditioned, seek accommodations in air-conditioned facilities during the heat of the day: malls, movie theaters, libraries, multi-service centers, etc.
Take frequent cool baths or showers if your house is not air-conditioned
Know the Signs and Take Action
Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Take action to avoid illness and loss of life:
Places to Cool Down
The public is always welcome to take advantage of air conditioning in City-owned public buildings during normal hours. To find a location nearest you, and hours of operation, visit:
- Multi-Service Centers: http://www.houstontx.gov/health/MSC/
- Houston Public Library Locations: http://houstonlibrary.org/find-it/find-library-location
- Houston Parks & Recreation Community Centers: http://www.houstontx.gov/parks/communitycenters/communitycenters.html
BARC Animal Shelter & Adoptions reminds pet owners of the following sings of heatstroke in their pets:
- Excessive or exaggerated panting
- High fever
- Dark red gums
- Rapid heartbeat
- Unresponsiveness to commands and surroundings
- Staring/anxious expression
- Warm/dry skin
If you think your pet may have heatstroke, heat straight to your vet’s office. It could save their life.
For up-to-date weather information, visit the National Weather Service Houston/ Galveston forecast office website: weather.gov/houston.