HOUSTON - Last year, there were 132 heat-related illnesses in humans and pets reported at Texas State Parks.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) hopes to keep visitors safe with tips on being outdoors in the Texas summer, where temperatures continue to steadily rise.
According to TPWD, it’s important for park visitors to stay hydrated in the hot weather. They recommend drinking at least 16 ounces of water each hour to prevent dehydration and to include enough water for your pets as well.
Along with water, TPWD suggests applying a generous amount of sunscreen whenever outdoors, which should be reapplied every few hours after swimming or sweating.
Dressing appropriately for hot weather is also very important, TPWD says. When attending outdoor events and activities, hats, breathable clothing, and appropriate shoes for the activity are recommended.
To protect pets, TPWD says its best to bring them to the trails during cooler times of the day.
You can also protect against blistering by putting booties on your pet's paws, or checking the ground by holding the back of your hand against it. If the ground too hot for your hand in 5 seconds, TPWD says it's too hot for your pet.
Making sure to pack plenty of snacks, such as trail mix, granola, dried fruit, jerky, or tuna, is a good way to stay nourished while on trails.
Having a friend, or at least one other person with you while you hit the trails can help prevent heat-related illnesses by having someone to possibly recognize early symptoms.
The final TPWD tip is to plan ahead. It is suggested that visitors always study the map and have it with them.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, average hikers move at about 2 miles per hour. They suggest planning to avoid the heat of the day, telling someone when you plan to return from a trail, and taking plenty of breaks in the shaded areas.
For more tips and information on heat safety, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.