Hurricane Beryl Aftermath: Lifesaving Tips to Beat Extreme Heat and Stay Safe

Hurricane Beryl, a Category 1 hurricane, recently made landfall in Texas, wreaking havoc with powerful winds and torrential rains. The storm has been blamed for at least seven deaths and left millions without power, including over 2 million homes and businesses in the Houston area as of Tuesday morning. As the storm moved inland and weakened, it left behind a trail of destruction and a new threat for homes and businesses: extreme heat.

Hurricane Beryl Aftermath

With the power out, air conditioning units are silent, and Houston residents face sweltering temperatures. A heat advisory is in effect through Wednesday, with temperatures soaring into the 90s (above 32.2°C) and humidity making it feel as hot as 105°F (40.5°C). This combination of heat and humidity can be dangerous, especially without the relief of air conditioning.

The Impact of Extreme Heat on Human Health

Heat can have severe effects on the human body, especially when combined with high humidity. When temperatures rise, the body struggles to cool itself, leading to potential heat-related illnesses. Here’s what happens to the body during extreme heat:

  • Heat Exhaustion: This occurs when the body loses too much water and salt. Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and headache. If untreated, it can lead to heat stroke.
  • Heat Cramps: These are painful muscle spasms that occur due to the loss of salt and water through sweating. They are often an early sign of heat-related illness.
  • Heat Stroke: This is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s temperature regulation fails, and body temperature rises to 104°F (40°C) or higher. Symptoms include confusion, fainting, seizures, and a lack of sweating despite the heat. Immediate medical attention is necessary.

Certain groups are more at risk during extreme heat, including the elderly, young children, people with chronic illnesses, and those working in unsafe conditions.

Hurricane Beryl Aftermath: Lifesaving Tips to Beat Extreme Heat and Stay SafeTips to Beat the Heat Without Air Conditioning

For those enduring the heat without air conditioning, here are three essential tips to stay cool and safe:

Stay Hydrated:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages as they can dehydrate you.
  • Eat water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to help maintain hydration.
  • Monitor Your Intake: Make a conscious effort to drink water regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Thirst is not always a reliable indicator of hydration status, especially in older adults.
  • Signs of Dehydration:
    • Early Signs: Dry mouth, thirst, dark yellow urine, headache, dizziness, and fatigue.
    • Severe Dehydration: Little or no urination, very dark urine, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, sunken eyes, and confusion. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical attention.

Create a Cooling Environment:

  • Use fans to circulate air, and place bowls of ice in front of them for a cooling breeze.
  • Keep windows and doors closed during the hottest part of the day and open them at night to allow cooler air in.
  • Use damp cloths on your skin, take cool showers, or soak your feet in cold water to lower your body temperature.
  • Spend time in the coolest part of your home, such as a basement or a room without direct sunlight.
  • Visit public places with air conditioning, like libraries, malls, or cooling centers set up by local authorities. Houston has opened several cooling centers for residents without power.

Wear Light, Loose Clothing:

  • Choose lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing to help your body stay cool. Dark colors absorb more heat, making you feel warmer.

Limit Outdoor Activities:

  • Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you must be outside, take frequent breaks in the shade or a cool area, and drink plenty of water.

Hurricane Beryl Aftermath: Lifesaving Tips to Beat Extreme Heat and Stay SafeEmergency Preparedness: Storing Water

From a general emergency preparedness standpoint, it is smart to always keep a store of drinkable water in your house or business. This ensures that you have access to clean water if the power, sewage, or water supply is disrupted. Here are some key points to consider:

  • How Much Water to Store:
    • Minimum Amount: Store at least one gallon of water per person per day.
    • Duration: Aim to have a two-week supply for each person in your household. For a family of four, this would be 56 gallons of water.
  • What to Store It In:
    • Use food-grade water storage containers, such as clean, durable plastic bottles or jugs. Avoid containers that have been used for milk or fruit juice, as residues can harbor bacteria.
    • Consider purchasing commercial bottled water for convenience and safety.
  • Storage Tips:
    • Store water in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight to prevent the growth of algae and bacteria.
    • Label containers with the date you filled them and replace the water every six months to ensure freshness.
    • For long-term storage, consider using water storage barrels or tanks designed for emergency use.

In times of crisis, the value of emergency preparedness cannot be overstated. At TAL Global, we have decades of experience helping people and businesses stay prepared for emergencies like natural disasters, man made events, fire, and other critical incidents. Our approach involves tailored solutions that fit the unique needs of each client, backed by proven results that ensure your organization is prepared and has the capacity to respond effectively under pressure.

If you’re looking to bolster your readiness or simply wish to review your current emergency procedures, you can always TALK TO US at no obligation. Discover how our expert guidance can help safeguard your assets and personnel in times of unexpected crises.

Hurricane Beryl Aftermath: Lifesaving Tips to Beat Extreme Heat and Stay SafeAbout TAL Global

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