LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - With triple digit temps expected for the South Plains, experts say it's important to keep cool, and the number one tip from doctors is to keep hydrated. Doctor Juan Fitz at the Covenant Emergency Room says folks need to make sure to drink water when they're out in the heat, and the key is to drink before you feel thirsty.
"The thing is you've got to stay ahead, 2 to 4 glasses of cool water every hour, not cold, but cool. Cold water will give you abdominal cramping," Fitz said.
Fitz says folks should avoid sugary drinks, soda, and alcohol. He recommends water first, but says sports drinks can also be beneficial. "They're good in the fact that they're made to replace minerals and salts. The problem is that people who, let's say, have kidney disease, they have to be careful with that because of the high content of sodium. So, if you have certain medical conditions, you have to be careful with these, but if you're young and healthy, then you can drink those, but still the best thing is water," Fitz said.
Fitz says those most at risk from heat related illnesses are the young and elderly. He says those on medication need to be extra careful. "A lot of their medications are affected by heat and a lot of the medications affect the temperature control center of their brain, so they're more susceptible to having injuries."
Fitz says folks who have to be outside should take lots of breaks, where loose, light colored clothing, and a wide brimmed hat.
He says when temperatures reach 100 degrees, it's important that folks have a place to cool off. "Any temperature that goes above 95, fans do not work. So if you can, go to the mall, go to the movies, somewhere where there's air conditioning and wait until evening to go home," Fitz said.
Fitz explained that there are three stages to heat illness. The first is heat cramps. Those you'll commonly experience after being outside in the heat, but aren't that serious.
The second is heat exhaustion. That's when you have cramps, dizziness, fast heart rate, and you're sweating a lot. This is when you need to get to a cool place fast and drink some water.
The third stage is heat stroke. That's when you have an extremely high body temperature, you're red in color, you're not sweating anymore, and folks commonly act confused or agitated. If this happens, take immediate action and call 9-1-1.
"Get them to a cool place; take as many clothes as you can off. Cover them with towels, and start pouring water over them until EMS gets there, because you've got to get their temperature down," Fitz said.
With temperatures expected to reach the triple digits this weekend, we wanted to find out just how common the centennial mark is for our area.
The National Weather Service tells us that on average we have almost six days where temperatures reach 100 or higher in a year, and on average temperatures peak in mid-June, then stay in that general range through July. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Lubbock was on June 27, 1994 when we hit 114 degrees.
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