Staying safe during the summer months and avoiding heat-related illnesses

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — This past weekend, the Randall County Fire Department had to rescue several people in the Palo Duro Canyon State Park due to the heat.

Chief Joe Koch with the Randall County Fire Department said that all the evacuation this weekend took place on the Lighthouse Trail.

Chief Koch said that Palo Duro Canyon typically is five to ten degrees hotter inside the canyon than outside on the rim of the canyon

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is advising people to look out for signs and symptoms of heat-related stress when working or playing outside.

Associate Professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Dr. Nicole Lopez said that every year people die from heat-related illnesses and these illnesses are some of the most preventable things in the summer months.

Dr. Lopez added it easy to become dehydrated without even knowing it and said some of the signs to look out for heat-related illness include:

  • Sweating an unusually large amount or a surprisingly small amount when you would expect to sweat more
  • Palpitations or a rapid heart rate
  • Nausea, sometimes with abdominal pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Malaise (unusual fatigue)
  • Confusion
  • Poor concentration
  • Lethargy
  • Headache
  • Irritability

She added that if you do any outdoor activities, it’s important to have someone with you.

“This is not something to just ignore. You need to be cognitive of the signs. Have a buddy with you, if you start feeling weak or faint, they can call for help if needed and get you cooled down, get you to the shade and sit down and drink some water or call emergency services if needed, ” said Dr. Lopez.

Chief Koch added that if you going to be in the Palo Duro Canyon to bring plenty of water.

“It’s recommended at least half a gallon or a gallon of water. In the hotter temperatures, I recommend a gallon of water at least to go down to the Lighthouse and back,” said Chief Koch.

Dr. Lopez said she recommends if you are going to be outside to wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above.

Dr. Lopez said to stick with water or something with electrolytes when you are trying to rehydrate.

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