It’s back to school time—but there’s plenty of summer left in Texas.
That means high humidity, temperatures in the 90s, and lots of bright sun.
People of all ages can become seriously ill during hot days. However, babies and young children are at even higher risk.
So before you head out for the day, check this list of summer safety tips.
Even if you can’t follow them all 100%, every bit helps to keep your family safe and healthy.
Check the weather forecast and plan ahead
Whether you’re going for a walk in the park or sending your kids to the bus stop, plan ahead.
Visit the National Weather Service for the current weather and forecast for the next few days.
You can even find information about signs of heat-related illness in both English and Spanish.
Drink water and other fluids
Starting to feel thirsty? You are probably already dehydrated.
The more you sweat on hot, humid days, the more fluids you need to drink.
Eating foods with a high water content can also help you to stay hydrated. Try cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
For more tips, check out “Easy Ways to Drink More Water.”
Stay indoors during the hottest times of day
In general, middle to late afternoon hours are the hottest, brightest, and most likely to cause sickness or sunburn.
If possible, stay indoors or in the shade during these times of day. Enjoy the outdoors in the early morning or after sundown.
You’ll feel cooler if you stay out of direct sunlight. Look for shady spots when you’re outdoors, such as under a tree or the overhang of a roof.
Or make your own shade—carry a big umbrella. It’s an easy way to keep sun off your head, face, and neck.
Did you know you can get a sunburn even on cloudy days? Protect your skin by using sunscreen every day.
It’s even more important for toddlers and children. According to The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), young people who get even one blistering sunburn have double the chance of melanoma later in their lives.
What about babies? If possible, keep them out of direct sun. Protect their skin with loose clothing and light blankets.
However, if that is not possible, use a small amount of broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF level 30. The AAD advises parents to choose sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, since they are less likely to irritate a baby’s sensitive skin.
Wear protective clothing
Sunscreen is good protection. The right clothes are even better.
On sunny days, consider wearing:
- Wide-brimmed hats that cover your face, ears, and neck.
- Sunglasses with UV protection. Check the label to be sure.
- Long-sleeved shirts and pants. The darker the color, the better.
- Shoes that cover your feet. Remember to apply sunscreen there, too.
Visit a Dallas cooling center
If you don’t have air conditioning, you can cool off in several places in Dallas and surrounding communities.
The Salvation Army of North Texas offers cooling stations in five counties.
For a list of locations and hours, visit the Salvation Army website.
Call the free 24-hour Nurse Line.
Have questions about what sunscreen is best for your child?
Are you feeling dizzy or weak—and worried you have a heat-related sickness?
Get professional help by calling the 24-Hour Nurse Line.
There is no cost to you for this Parkland Community Health Plan service.
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