Dallas County Health and Human Services reported Friday the third heat-related death in Dallas County in 2018.
The 30-year-old Mesquite resident was said to be an outdoor worker who was exposed to extreme heat conditions. The person died on July 7 when the high was 96 degrees at DFW Airport.
The cause of death was confirmed by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, no other information was released.
“Dallas County residents need to be aware of the severity resulting from heat-related illness during high temperatures,” said Ganesh Shivaramaiyer, DCHHS interim director. “Adults and children need to take measures against heat stress when outdoors. Whether you are working or have a recreational activity, being outdoors for even a short amount of time can cause serious illness.”
Health officials urge employers to help protect outdoor workers. Under the Occupation Safety and Health Administration, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazards. This includes protecting workers from extreme heat.
“Individuals exposed to high temperatures should stay hydrated and take frequent breaks in a shaded area or air-conditioned space to avoid experiencing symptoms of heat-related illnesses.” said Dr. Christopher Perkins, Dallas County health authority/medical director.
Heat-related illness can also happen indoors.
While many people struggle with paying the AC bills during the summer, DCHHS urges residents to seek a cooling shelter, seek assistance for AC services and help with their utility bill. Many utility companies are sensitive to high rising bills during the summer and have assistance programs available. DCHHS also has information on its website to help those in need of AC services and utility bill assistance.
People suffer from heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves.
DCHHS urges residents to use the following CDC tips:
Stay Cool Indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, visit a cooling center, shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
Pace Yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you’re not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually to avoid symptoms such as muscle pain, spasms, dizziness, headache and fatigue If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
Drink more fluids: Regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
Keep Your Pets Hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.
Check for Updates: Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about any cooling shelters in your area.
Know the Signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.