(September 6, 2013)—The late-summer heat is taking a toll in Central Texas and football fans in particular could be at risk over the weekend even after sunset.
Heat-related illness calls have kept area paramedics busy this week and health officials are warning those who plan to be outdoors over the weekend to take steps to avoid falling victim to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, which is the most common form of heat stress, or heat stroke, which can cause death or permanent disability without emergency treatment.
Extreme heat is the most common cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., health officials say.
Game-time temperatures for Friday night’s high school games will be around 95 degrees and they won’t drop quickly.
East Texas Medical Center EMS Director James Stefka warns that even after the sun goes down, those who are outdoors for extended periods of time can develop heat-related problems.
Temperatures will be in the upper 90s when Baylor hosts Buffalo Saturday afternoon at Floyd Casey Stadium where temperatures in the stands and on the field could be as high as 120 degrees.
The best thing fans can do to avoid heat-related problems is to get hydrated and stay hydrated.
“The key to it is plenty of fluid intake," Stefka said.
Baylor’s longtime head athletic trainer, Mike Sims, echoes the advice.
“You think it's hot when you walk from the house to the air conditioned car,” he said, “but prolonged exposure to the heat without hydration...can be very bad.”
Because of the heat, Baylor is allowing fans to take two water containers apiece into the stadium and officials are encouraging fans to wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and caps or hats to protect against the sun.
Cooling stations are being set up beneath the stands and Stefka said plenty of EMS personnel will be standing by to respond to any problems the heat may cause.
Those most at risk include children 4 or younger, people 65 or older, people who are overweight and people who are ill or who are taking certain types of medications.