HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Texas heat is making its way back as we’re looking at some high numbers this week.
Dr. Carlos Ramirez with South Texas Health System said heatstroke and heat exhaustion are the two most common heat-related illnesses.
According to Dr. Ramirez, STHS treats hundreds of heat-related cases every year, especially during the summer.
The symptoms of heat stroke and exhaustion differ though.
If you’re feeling faint or dizzy, have cool and clammy skin, a rapid or weak pulse, and muscle cramping, Dr. Ramirez said you are most likely experiencing heat exhaustion.
Dr. Ramirez recommends getting to an air-conditioned area immediately, drinking lots of water, or taking a cool shower.
As for a heat stroke, the reported symptoms include a throbbing headache, zero sweat, red and dry skin, a rapid and strong pulse, and the possibility of unconsciousness.
Dr. Ramirez told ValleyCentral the only remedy for a heat stroke is to call 911 and get treated in the emergency room.
Before even getting to either of those levels, Dr. Ramirez recommends light clothing, staying “well hydrated,” and staying under a shaded area as much as possible.
Staying hydrated is also a rule of thumb for animals, according to Luis Quintanilla, Director of the Humane Society of Harlingen. He recommends keeping fresh, clean water nearby at all times as animals can become dehydrated “very quickly.”
According to the ASPCA, dogs can overheat much quicker than humans because they’re lower to the ground.
If your dog is overheating, you’ll see signs of mild weakness, difficulty in breathing, and drooling.
ASPCA reports animals with flat faces, such as Pugs and Persian cats are more susceptible to heatstroke since they can’t pant effectively.
“Be mindful of the fact that a lot of times they may be super excited. Your pets wanna get out for a walk. They love being with you, but they can push themselves too fat just like people can, so you wanna make sure that you have those limitations in mind, especially now that we’re getting into the crazy Valley weather again,” added Quintanilla.
To test if the sidewalk or asphalt is safe for your animals to walk on, you can either walk barefoot for 10 seconds or place the backside of your hand on the ground for seven seconds. If you’re not able to hold either, it’s too hot to walk your pet, according to Quintanilla.
ASPCA also stated on their website that trimming longer hair is “okay”, but they ask pet owners not to have them entirely as the layers of fur are said to protect them from overheating and sunburn.
If you think it’s hot outside, Dr. Ramirez said inside a closed car is even hotter. He asks everyone to check their back seats before locking the car for any children or pets.
ASPCA reports that on an 85-degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 102 degrees. Within just 30 minutes, the car’s interior can climb from 85 degrees to a scorching 120 degrees.
In Texas, it is illegal to leave a child in a car without adult supervision and pet owners can be charged with an act of cruelty.