During the heat of summer, roofer Danny Estes' crews arrive early, get as much done as they can and pack up their tools by 11 a.m. then return a few hours before dusk.

Estes said construction workers can deal with summer heat when they're used to it. But everyone has a limit. He's seen temperatures reach 145 degrees on stripped roofs and said it's too much heat for his workers and the materials they might step on.

"You get used to it, but when temperatures are like this, you don't want to risk somebody falling out or damaging the shingles," Estes said.

Temperatures are climbing and expected to top out around 100 degrees later this week. Various health organizations want residents to be mindful of the sun and heat and the toll it can take on people, pets and plants, as we enter the heart of the summer.

KYTX CBS19 Chief Meteorologist John Adams said temperatures would rise to near triple-digits through the week. Adams said he expects temperatures to top out around 98 degrees but that some East Texans could see 100 degrees.

The heat index, which takes into account temperature, humidity and its effect on the human body, would reach 105 degrees in the shade and 115 degrees in the sun, he said.

Adams expects a lot of sun and no rain and suggested people educate themselves on how to keep cool.

 

PEOPLE

Ginger Wood, Interim Director of Environmental Health Services, said everyone should take precautions and watch out for others who might be exposed to too much heat and sun.

Ms. Wood said anything over 90 degrees is dangerous territory. People who might be compromised, such as the elderly and children younger than 4-years-old, those who are ill or sunburned already, should take extra precautions, she said.

"Someone should pay close attention to people in those categories," she said. "If you're outside with the kiddos, let them play in the water. That's an easy way to cool off. Adults can take cool showers or baths to cool off."

Box fans are good, but above 90 degrees, use a wet towel to cool down. Visit friends or a public place to cool down to normal temperatures. Temperatures above body temperature can be especially difficult for bodies to adjust to.

Light-colored clothing does reflect better than darker fabrics. Stay hydrated. If you don't sweat, you don't cool off.

Alcohol and sugary drinks, including soft drinks, don't help as much and will actually draw moisture out of cells, she said.

"Try to drink water," Ms. Wood said.

People with health conditions, such as diabetes, should consult with physicians for special requirements related to summer temperatures.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two very dangerous conditions people will experience if left in the heat too long. Symptoms include fatigue, increased heart rate, and sweating and then lack of sweating, headache and confusion - all send the signal the person is in distress due to the high temperatures.

The first sign of cancer risks is sunburn, she said. Reduce potential burns with sunscreen SPF 30 or higher, she said. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply, when necessary, to avoid burns.

Ms. Wood said long-sleeve shirts and large-brimmed hats also help. Lighter colored clothing, especially white, reflects the sun better than darker colors, which absorb the sun's rays, she said.

Stay in shady areas to avoid direct sun, heat and sunburn, which compromise the immune system, Ms. Wood said.

According to Ms. Wood, the health district hasn't had any heat-related calls yet, but they are completing an emergency response plan with public officials and nonprofits to help inform and assist people about the dangers.

The Salvation Army of Tyler and other locations, including movie theaters, the Tyler public library, the mall and some churches are on a list of locations that would open their doors as a temporary "cooling station."

"Know your neighbors and keep tabs on them, especially the elderly," she said. "We just want everyone to be aware and keep everyone safe and healthy."

Ms. Wood said residents can call 2-1-1 for the Texas United Way Public Information hotline, which can help direct people to the resources they need, such as assisting with electric bills to keep air conditioners running or health-related issues.

Ms. Wood said residents should also be wary of hot cars.

Every year, children die from heatstroke after being left in their vehicle or from entering a vehicle unnoticed, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"Children should never be left unattended in a vehicle regardless of the weather; however especially in warmer temperatures, the likelihood of serious injury or death increases exponentially when a child – or anyone – remains in a hot vehicle for too long," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "DPS is continuing to urge parents, caretakers and the public to do their part to prevent vehicular heatstroke by never leaving a child inside a vehicle without an adult present, and by notifying emergency personnel if they see a child alone in a car."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, temperatures inside a car can rise more than 20 degrees in only 10 minutes; and even with an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 110 degrees. Leaving windows partially rolled down does not help. In addition, young children are particularly at risk since their bodies heat up faster than an adult.

The DPS recommends to always check the back seats of your vehicle before walking away and to establish reminders that help ensure you remove children from the vehicle, such as leaving your bag, lunch or cell phone in the back seat with the child's car seat.

If you see a child alone in a car, call 9-1-1 and emergency personnel will provide instructions as to what to do next.

If a child goes missing, open the doors and trunks to every vehicle in the area. One-third of all of the deaths occur when a child accesses a parked car unnoticed.

Teach children not to play in vehicles and make sure to lock vehicles and place the keys out of reach when not being used.

 

PETS

Madison Payne, marketing director for SPCA of East Texas, said people should take the same summertime precautions with their animals.

Pets should have access to water and shade at all times, she said. Even with shady areas, dogs, especially some breeds, such as Pugs and Boxers, are prone to overheating.

Ms. Payne said owners should avoid excessive activity for dogs during peak heat hours and have water available on walks. Owners should also be mindful that pets' paws can be sensitive to hot sidewalks and pavement.

She places the back of her hand on the surface for five seconds to tell if it is too hot to walk on. Owners should stick to shady spots and grassy areas during mid-day walks, she said.

"The rule of thumb is that if it's uncomfortable for you, it's most likely uncomfortable for them, too," she said.

A few symptoms of overheating include, excessive panting, heart rate and drool, mild weakness or showing signs of a stupor, such as not listening to basic commands, she said.

Dogs will show severe symptoms, such as seizures, vomiting and bloody diarrhea, when their bodies hit and exceed 104 degrees, she said.

If an animal does overheat, cool them down slowly, by moving them indoors and wiping them down with a wet rag.

Ms. Payne said owners should also be wary of heartworms, which are spread by mosquitoes.

 

PLANTS

Brent Pemberton, Texas A&M Agricultural Research and Extension Center, said residents should be cautious with their plants and trees, especially if they are newly planted.

Pemberton said gardeners could expect to see some signs of heat stress, such as wilting, because this is the first heat wave of the summer, but plants should bounce back easily if watered properly.

Keeping the ground moist enough where the soil clumps together is sufficient and watering weekly should be enough in most instances for now, he said.

Plants, lawns and trees planted this spring need extra attention because they don't have fully developed root systems, he said. Getting them through the summer will take more watering, he said.

Plants in planters can dry quickly, Pemberton said. Depending on the amount of sun, they could need water daily. Wind also can dry plants more rapidly.

Pemberton recommends residents check their sprinklers for leaks to avoid inconsistent watering. He also recommends watering lawns at or before dawn to reduce water evaporation.

Twitter: @newsboyAdam

 

The Salvation Army of Tyler is providing cooling fans to needy individuals and families. Fans can be accessed or donated at The Salvation Army's offices, 633 N. Broadway Ave. in Tyler.

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