It was a long time in coming, by Texas standards at least, but the 100-degree temperatures for which the Lone Star Stateís summers are famous have finally arrived. With the heat comes health warnings that everyone should heed.

Brownwood animal control officer Nick Ferguson told the Bulletin last week that officers have responded to several cases of dogs being left in parked, hot vehicles. It takes only a few minutes for a vehicle to heat to the point that it endangers an animal. Even with windows open, a parked car can quickly become a furnace. Animal cruelty charges could result.

The same advice holds for children, especially infants. The incidents have been rare, but reports of serious injury and even death have made statewide news in recent years after a child was left in a locked vehicle during the heat of the day. How could that happen? Anyone can have a lapse of attention. With an outside temperature of 72 to 96 degrees, the temperature in an enclosed vehicle will rise by an average of 34 degrees in 30 minutes.

But even healthy young people and adults can suffer problems if they spend too much time in temperatures above 100 degrees, and the danger is even greater for people working or exercising outdoors. Even indoors, children and older folks especially are risking health problems if they donít seek cooler conditions if they donít have, or donít want to use, air-conditioning in their homes. Above 100 degrees, fans lose their effectiveness. Itís better that they seek a safer location, like a store or public center.

Texans have had a break in the heat this summer, but now that itís arrived, itís time to protect each other.