Safety & Security

Keep your cool in the heat of summer

Stay hydrated, know how to treat heat-related illness

It’s triple-digit weather in Central Texas, which means now more than ever, it’s crucial to beat the heat by staying hydrated.

Anytime you’re out in the heat for extended periods of time, cold water and sports drinks are the best option to combat dehydration. Beverages like coffee, soda and energy drinks do not keep you hydrated.

You can sweat up to 2–3 gallons of fluid per day, and your water intake should equal the amount of sweat produced — but don’t depend on thirst alone to let you know how much to drink. A good rule of thumb is to drink 5–7 ounces of cold water every 15–20 minutes.

If you’re not drinking enough water and become dehydrated in the heat, serious heat-related illnesses can occur. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the three most common issues stemming from overheating.

Heat cramps: Stop what you’re doing, sit or lie down in a shaded area. Drink cold water or a cold sports drink. Stretch affected muscles. Heat exhaustion: Stop what you’re doing, sit or lie down in a shaded area. Drink cold water or a cold sports drink. Apply wet towels to forehead and neck. Get medical attention if needed. Heat stroke: Call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Immerse in a bath of cold water or ice water, or apply ice packs or cold, wet towels to armpits, groin, neck and back.

Other tips to avoid overheating

  • Take frequent water breaks.
  • Use sunscreen. Sunburns limit the body’s ability to cool down, resulting in dehydration.
  • Keep a close eye on family and friends to make sure they aren’t overheated, too.

The purpose of this information is to provide a broad understanding of heat-related illness. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen.