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Dangers of Heat and Triple Digit Weather in West Texas

As the temperature begins to rise, the possibilities of heat-related deaths also begin to increase, according to local doctors.
As the temperature begins to rise, the possibilities of heat-related deaths also begin to increase, according to local doctors.

“The number of deaths will be increasing starting now and on through a peak season mid-July,” said Dr. Vick Wall, an emergency physician at Medical Center Hospital.

The deaths are more common among the elderly, but anyone can experience heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

“We're early on in the hot season and people haven't become acclimated,” Wall said.

Although the hot weather might seem normal to West Texans, your body needs to get used to the heat.

“They need to get used to it and the body makes lots of adaptations in the first two weeks of the heat,” Wall said.

Normally, it can take just one hour to begin experiencing the signs of a heat stroke.

“When we’re working, roofers, oil workers, they’ll be drinking some but not enough,” Wall said.

The symptoms can begin with just not feeling right, dizziness and headache.

“If you start getting confused then probably we need to see you,” Wall said.

But your pets can also be in danger.

“It's best to keep them inside if there is a heat advisory,” said Dr. Lindsay Mathre, Veterinarian at Greenbelt Veterinary.

If your pet is an outside animal, you can leave them outside, but you must make sure they have shade and plenty of water.

“Asphalt and concrete if they stand too long on those surfaces it cases thermal burns to the point where their paw pads can even become ulcerated and it's a very painful condition,” Mathre said.

But it’s not just the pets. Leaving children in cars is just as dangerous.

So if you feel the heat, doctors recommend going into the air conditioning and drinking something with slats, like a sports drinks.

“Taking breaks to cool down making sure you're adequately hydrated almost all of us don’t hydrate enough,” Wall said.

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