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How to stay safe in dangerous triple-digit heat

It's about to get dangerously hot, but there are some things you can do to stay cool.

HOUSTON — The Houston area is looking at dangerous heat this weekend, with the potential of three straight days of 100-degree temperatures, the highest they’ve been since August 2020.

RELATED: Houston forecast: Dangerous heat and dry weather this week

Porfirio Villarreal, a spokesperson for Houston Health Department, said high temperatures cause body temperature to rise, which can damage vital organs, including the brain.

“When you start noticing heat exhaustion, which is just weakness, profuse sweating, your skin is wet, it’s cool, you need to treat those symptoms,” said Villarreal. “You need to go inside an air-conditioned building, drink plenty of water, 'cause then, if you do not treat that, then it progresses to heat exhaustion. That’s an emergency. You need to call 911.”

Villarreal said kids under age 4, adults older than 55 and people who are overweight or those who have a heart or respiratory illness are most at risk.

Dr. Wahaj Aman, a cardiologist with Memorial Hermann and UTHealth Houston, said people with congestive heart failure or high blood pressure need to be especially careful in the sun.

“If your heart wants to combat the heat by wanting to beat stronger and faster, well, you’re on a medication which is slowing your heart rate,” Aman said. “So, that can lead to you becoming dizzy, lightheaded very, very quickly.”

Villarreal said the most dangerous time to be outdoors is 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. He recommends exercising early in the morning or late in the evening.

People working outside should take breaks in the shade or air conditioning every hour if possible. Light-colored and loose-fitting clothing is the best option for staying cool.

Villarreal also said to check on older adults and very young children, and avoid leaving people or pets in cars.

If the heat index hits at least 108 for two consecutive days, Houston Health Department will open cooling centers.

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