Don’t let the heat get you

Summers in Dallas can be brutally hot, but you can prepare to lessen the effects and stay healthy by following some tips.

Listen to local weather forecasts so you know when extreme heat is on the way. But don’t wait for an impending heat wave to take the following precautions:

  • Install weather stripping at doors and windows.
  • Install curtains or shades over windows that get direct sun. Outdoor awnings or louvers can very effectively keep heat out.
  • Keep temporary window reflectors on hand, such as cardboard sheets covered with aluminum foil. Installing these between windows and drapes will reflect heat back outside.
  • Make sure window air-conditioner units are fitted tightly and have clean filters. Make sure that ducts for central air conditioning are insulated, and have the unit maintained yearly to avoid unexpected breakdowns.
  • Be aware of neighbors who may need help during a heat wave, especially the elderly, pregnant people, young children, and people who are sick or homebound.

To prepare for heat waves and other emergencies, put together an emergency kit and a family communication plan. Check the contents of your kit frequently. Make sure you have everything you need in case of a power outage. Checklists and advice about coping with extreme heat are available at

If possible, get your roof insulated. Insulation prevents heat getting in during hot weather and prevents it from escaping in cold weather, so it’s a year round investment that can also keep your energy bills down.


Remember others. Never leave children, adults with disabilities, elderly people, or pets in a vehicle, not even for a minute. When the temperature outside is 80 degrees, the interior of your car can heat up to 99 degrees in just 10 minutes. According to the National Safety Council, 38 children die on average each year due to vehicular heatstroke.

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Put ice cubes in your water bottle. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, and check your urine—if it’s darker or more yellow than usual, this may be a sign that you’re becoming dehydrated.

Eat small, frequent meals. It’s best to avoid hot, rich foods and consider cold foods like salads, leftovers, fruit, and sandwiches or wraps. If you do need to cook or heat something, try using a microwave so that it doesn’t heat up the kitchen. Give children fruit juice-based ice pops to assist with hydration.

Slow down and take it easy. Reduce strenuous activities as much as you can, and take frequent breaks when you do have to work in the heat. Postpone outdoor activities and games, and take precautions when exercising outdoors in the heat. If possible limit outdoor activities to times of day when the temperatures are not as high. Be sure to stay hydrated and to take breaks from the heat, and remind children to do the same.

Stay inside. Avoid being outside when the sun is strongest, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If you need to be outdoors, try to schedule any exercise for early in the morning or early evening.

Circulate the air. Use portable electric fans to circulate the air. But don’t have them blow directly on you if it’s above 90 degrees, as this can contribute to dehydration. Use a water spray bottle or wet cloth to keep your skin damp. Take short, frequent cool showers or baths.

Use sunscreen. Keep direct sun exposure to a minimum. Use a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 30 or more. Use plenty of it, and reapply about every two hours, and after swimming or sweating. For infants under the age of 6 months, look for sunscreen with titanium, as regular sunscreens should not be used at that age. Whenever possible, wear a hat and stay in the shade. While swimming, children should wear sun protective swimwear such as a rash guard and swim cap. Refer to the American Cancer Society’s website for sunscreen and other sun protection advice, and remember that sunscreen alone is not enough to prevent sun damage. 

Know where you can go to cool down. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, consider spending the hottest part of the day in a mall, movie theater, library, swimming pool, or community facility. City of Dallas public facilities offer cooling centers. Some agencies may open designated cooling centers where people who lack air conditioning can find a respite from the heat. Contact your local 211 Service or your city information line for information on any designated cooling centers in your area.

Dress for the weather. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in light colors. Be sure to wear sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat.

Check on your animals. Check frequently to make sure pets aren’t suffering from the heat and that they have plenty of water. Remember that paved, asphalt, sand, and cement surfaces get very hot, so go early in the morning or wait until the evening or go to a shaded or grassy area to exercise your dog.

Listen for updates. Listen to weather forecasts each day so you know what’s coming.

If you need help, the district’s Employee Assistance Program provides short-term counseling for you, your spouse/partner, and any dependent family members. Counseling sessions can assist with a wide range of concerns, including stress, anxiety, depression, grief, and more. And, as always, you can reach TELUS Health EAP 24/7 at 972-925-4000 Option 3. For additional questions, employees may contact the Human Capital Management Benefits Department at 972-925-4300, email, or click here for information on the Benefits Website.

Source: LifeWorks

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