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Metro Health Issues Heat Advisory And Safety Tips For People And Pets

Neil Debbage presents at Think Science at the Malú and Carlos Alvarez Theater on August 19, 2022.
Nathan Cone
Neil Debbage presents at Think Science at the Malú and Carlos Alvarez Theater on August 19, 2022.

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District issued a level II heat advisory on Wednesday as temperatures in the area soared.

The advisory is issued when the heat index is expected to be 108 degrees or higher.

“With the heat and humidity forecast for today and later this week, it is important for the community to keep in mind that excessive heat can pose a health threat,” said Jennifer Herriott, Interim Metro Health Director.

“Adults over 65, children under 4, and people with existing problems such as heart disease, and those without access to air conditioning are at highest risk.”

Metro Health recommends drinking plenty of water and protecting yourself from the sun.

Additionally, people should check on their neighbors, especially those at highest risk, to ensure access to heat relief and hydration.

The heat can also cause sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion.

Heat stroke is likely with prolonged exposure. Warning signs of heat stroke include red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, nausea, confusion or strange behavior, metro health officials said.

If a child exhibits any of these signs, cool the child rapidly with cool water -- not an ice bath -- and call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. If you see a child locked in a hot car or in the back of a truck, take action immediately. Jot down the car’s description, including a license plate number, metro health officials said, and call the police immediately. If regarding a pet, call Animal Care Services at 311.

Animal Care Services has also released some tips to help your pets through the heat wave:

Fresh water and shelter should always be available. Ensure pets have plenty of shade all day.

Pets most at risk from overheating include young, elderly or overweight pets, those with a short muzzle or those with thick or dark-colored coats.

A shaded parking spot offers little to no protection on a sunny day, and cracking the window does very little to reduce the temperature inside a parked car. It takes only ten minutes for the interior of a car to reach 102 degrees on an average 85 degree day. In 30 minutes, the temperature can reach 120 degrees or more.

It is illegal for dogs to ride unsecured in the back of trucks, and these pets face the same heat stroke risks as pets locked in cars. They’re also at risk of burned paws and accidental falls during transport.

Symptoms of heat stress in pets include excessive thirst, heavy panting, glazed eyes, vomiting, restlessness, lethargy, fever, dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, profuse drooling or salivating and unconsciousness.

Mind your pets around water. Most pets are not natural swimmers, and any pet can easily tire and drown.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at Brian@TPR.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian.