People living in southeast Texas are no stranger to high temperatures and humidity during the summer months. Residents should be aware of how to deal with extreme heat. Humans have a line of defense in dealing with summer heat: sweating. As air becomes moist, (high relative humidity) the evaporation of sweat, which is what cools your body down, can't happen as fast, and your body can't cool itself as quickly. When our bodies can't cool themselves fast enough, body temperature, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can occur.
People living in Houston should pay attention to the "Heat Index." This was created to help individuals realize just how hot it is, and what the effect of some atmospheric conditions such as dew point and humidity could have on the body. The heat index will tell you "how hot it feels."
Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illness and Take Action
Every year, people die across the country due to heat-related illness, know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and take action to stay safe.
The Houston Health Department (HHD) recommends people take precautions against high heat and humidity to prevent illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
To prevent heat-related illnesses:
Remember children, the elderly and people with chronic ailments are most at risk during periods of extreme heat.
Also, don’t forget your pets can succumb to the effects of excessive heat. Ensure they have plenty of drinking water and a shady place to rest.
The City may activate Cooling Centers to help those residents who may not have adequate air conditioning to stay safe when temperatures are high. The centers, usually housed at libraries, recreation centers, multi-service centers and other facilities that are open to the public, are available during their normal business hours. If extreme heat occurs over the weekend, hours at some facilities may be extended.
When the City's Heat Plan is in effect, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Houston/Harris County (METRO) will provide transportation free of charge to designated cooling centers for individuals who need them. Residents who need transportation can call 311 (713.837.0311) to request service.
Please note that the heat plan must be in effect for residents to take advantage of this service. To check the current status of the heat plan, visit houstonemergency.org.