Summer is making an early appearance in Central Texas Saturday. We are expecting the warmest temperatures in the Lone Star state since early November. Forecast highs around the Austin metro area are expected to reach near 90 degrees with heat indices above 90. Also, the UV index for today will also be high, a 5.9 rating. With that said, it is important to make sure you, your family, and pets are protected from the heat and humidity.

The body normally cools itself by sweating. During increasingly hot weather, especially high humidity days, sweating isn't enough and the body's ability to cool itself is difficult. Thousands of people are in town for the South by Southwest festivities, so with close contact between you and your neighbor, body temperatures tend to trend warmer, and places to shade yourself and cool off will grow limited with the outdoor events planned. It is important to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses and to know what you should do to prevent such occurrences.

National Weather Service dictates that heat cramps are likely the first sign of a heat-related illness and that it could lead to heat exhaustion or stroke. Many of the symptoms associated with heat cramps include painful muscle cramps, spasms, and even heavy sweating.

Heat exhaustion is also another common form of a heat-related illness. Major symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, fast, weak pulse, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, and fainting. It is advised that you apply first aid to the individual by moving the person to a cooler environment, lay the person down and loosen clothing, offer sips of water, fan or move the victim to an air-conditioned room. In the event that the person vomits more than once, you must seek immediate medical attention.

Heat stroke also brings about symptoms of an altered mental state, a body temperature above 103 degrees, rapid and strong pulse, hot, red, dry, or moist skin, throbbing headache, confusion, or shallow breathing.

If you’re ditching the indoor events for more sun exposure and fun in the sun, the American Cancer Society reminds us of the “Slip! Slop! Slap! And Wrap” method.

  • Slip on a shirt
  • Slop on sunscreen
    • Remember, an SPF rating of at least 15 blocks at least 93 percent of UV rays. Follow the instructions on the bottle.
  • Slap on a hat
  • Wrap on sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them

If you’re heading to outdoor festivities Saturday, take along a bottle or two of water, designate a place that has some shade, take along your sunscreen, and above all, have fun!

Cooler and near normal temperatures return Sunday in the wake of a cold front with light, patchy rain showers.

Next week has more comfortable temperatures forecasted, with the upper 60s and lower 70s for daytime highs.