Hate the heat, but above all, respect it


The other day, just after finishing an afternoon of yard work (yes, yes, I understand that’s the WRONG time to do yard work) I felt as if I were stuck in place.

Looking down, it became apparent my feet had melted into the driveway, kind of like a crayon left outside during a Texas afternoon.

Ha! I exaggerate! My feet weren’t melted, just my shoes! (Yet another stab at heat-related humor. Sorry if it missed.)

Anyway, in the unlikely case you’ve missed the news, a typical, torturous Texas summer is upon us. Again.

For the six-plus decades I’ve padded around on this mortal coil, one immutable fact hasn’t changed: Texas summers are hot. To what degree (both literally and figuratively) you choose to fret over it won’t make things cooler.

But the arrival of another blast furnace summer does mean you should heed the advice of health officials when it comes to coping with the oppressive conditions.

Heat related issues – such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion – are deadly serious. For example, don’t do yard work in the afternoon and if you do (like I did) don’t stay exposed for too long.

If you have to be outside, drink lots and lots of fluids before starting your activities. As the saying goes, if you drink only when you are thirsty, it’s too late. Hydrating should begin hours before undertaking any outside work or play.

Health officials also stress you should understand the symptoms of heat exhaustion: throbbing headache, confusion, dizziness or light headedness, cramps, rapid heartbeat and feeling faint.

You should immediately seek medical attention for any of these signs and while waiting on help to arrive, cool down by getting into a shady area or air conditioning. Wet your skin or immerse yourself in cold water. Apply ice packs to the heat centers of the body: armpits, neck, groin and back.

Heat stroke follows untreated heat exhaustion and will lead to vital organ damage and even death.

One person who is well versed on this is Lindale High School Head Football Coach Chris Cochran, who is primed for another Eagles’ season.

He takes the health and welfare of his players and coaches very seriously and understands preparation and common sense go hand in hand.

The team will hit the field beginning at 7 a.m. on Aug. 6 and a week later will switch to 5 p.m.-9 p.m. at Eagle Stadium.

“It’s absolutely serious to us,’’ the coach said about the brutality of Texas summers. “We intend on making sure all our players – and coaches – are monitored and safe.’’

Cochran’s players don’t have to go far in any direction to find available water.

“There are water stations set up all over the practice field and we constantly talk with them about re-hydrating – before and after practice,’’ the coach said.

Long gone are the days of former Texas A&M Head Coach Bear Bryant’s Junction, Texas training camp, when he pushed his 1954 Aggies to the brink in the middle of an historic drought and heat wave. Broken bones were treated with aspirin and the only liquid available was in the form of a couple of water soaked towels.

Bryant’s methods seen archaic now, but at the time they were accepted by a majority of coaching staffs. Now, of course, he’d be up on charges.


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