Houstonians try to keep cool in triple-digit heat

HOUSTON - Houstonians are doing their best to stay cool in what will likely be the hottest week so far this summer.

The elderly are especially prone to heat-related illnesses since their bodies don't adjust as quickly to sudden temperature changes.

Meals on Wheels drivers deliver meals to 4,500 homebound seniors in Harris County. These seniors are on a very limited income. Some of them rely on fans to stay cool in this dangerous heat.

Margaret Gaines said her air-conditioning unit broke just a few days ago.

"It's definitely hard on me because I have asthma," said Gaines. "The heat is getting to me."

Those with Meals On Wheels said they are doing their best, but they need the community's help.

"We want to do more, but there's just so much we can do for them," said Andrea Fineman, Interfaith Ministries' communications manager for greater Houston.

Anyone who would like to donate to Meals On Wheels to help local seniors stay cool this summer is asked to visit their website at www.imgh.org or call 713-533-4900.

Here are the warning signs for heat stroke:

  • Not sweating
  • Collapsing
  • Becoming incoherent
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Body Temperature of 106 degrees or higher
  • Seizure

People who exhibit signs of heat stroke should do the following:

  • Call 9-1-1
  • Get out of the sun and go indoors or to a shady area
  • Cool with water, but not ice water
  • If someone is seizing, protect them from injury, but do not put anything in their mouth

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent heat-related injuries:

  • Drink plenty of cool water or other non-carbonated drinks
  • Take breaks about every hour and get out of the sun and cool down for at least 10 minutes
  • Wear hats, sunglasses and cotton or other natural fiber clothing
  • Use sunscreen to protect uncovered skin
  • If drinking sports drinks, cut them 50/50 with cold water
  • Do not use salt tablets -- drink sports drinks to replenish electrolytes

People who exhibit signs of a heat-related illness should do the following:

  • Get out of the sun and cool down
  • Sip cool water or 50 percent water/sports drink
  • Rest for at least 30 minutes after the symptoms end
  • Limit activity in the sun for the rest of the day
  • For chest pain or shortness of breath, call 9-1-1

Pets can suffer heat-related problems, too. Make sure they always have clean, fresh water available and access to shade or the indoors.

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