AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is sharing its top six "heat hacks" for staying safe outdoors this summer.
TPWD says that Texas State Parks handled 129 heat-related illnesses in humans and pets last year as temperatures hit triple digits.
TPWD recommends the following for park visitors:
- Hydrate- Drink at least 16 ounces of water every hour in the heat to prevent dehydration. Don’t forget to bring enough for your four-legged family members too.
- Block the Rays- Apply a generous amount of sunscreen or sunblock before heading outdoors. Be sure to reapply every couple of hours, and after swimming or sweating.
- Dress Smart- Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing; a hat, correct shoes, sunscreen and wet bandanas to keep cool while in the sun. For pets, protect paws against blistering by hitting the trails during cooler times of the day when the ground isn’t hot or by using booties to help shield paws from the hot ground. Touch the pavement or ground with the back of your hand. If you cannot hold it there for five seconds, the surface is too hot for your dog’s paws.
- Stay Salty- Food helps keep up energy and replace salt lost from sweating. Eating snacks such as jerky, granola, trail mix, tuna and dried fruit is a fantastic way to nourish your body while on the trails.
- Buddy System- With high temperatures hitting Texas, heat-related illnesses are common and having a friend around to help recognize the early symptoms can save you from getting sick.
- Plan Ahead- Study the map and have it with you. Average hikers move at 2 miles per hour, so allow yourself plenty of time to avoid hiking in the heat of the day. Rest in a cool or shaded area to recover from the heat if necessary. It is also a good idea to let someone know your plan before you hit the trails and what time you should be back so if you get lost, people know where to look
For more information about heat safety, visit the TPWD website.