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Take precautions to avoid heat illnesses

With temperatures climbing daily into the mid-90s and heat index values topping 100 degrees, the National Weather Service reminds everyone to take precautions to protect from heat related illness. Weather Service statistics show that in very hot, humid weather, the body heats up too rabidly. The heat index is a measure of how hot your body will feel in hot, humid conditions.  This can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and the most serious, heat stroke. That one can be fatal. Experts agree that in the case of heat cramps and heat exhaustion, it is best to move the person to a cooler environment. Apply cool, wet cloths and offer sips of water. Heat Stroke, however, is a severe medical emergency. Symptoms can include throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, rapid pulse and possible unconsciousness. Emergency medical attention should be summoned immediately. Each year, dozens of children and an untold number of pets left in parked cars, die from hyperthermia. That happens when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. Hyperthermia can occur even on mild days since studies have shown the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rise to dangerous levels quickly. Leaving a window slightly open does not significantly reduce the heating rate. Children are more severely affected in those conditions because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults. Always check the back seat when you get out of your vehicle for children or pets. On very hot days it is best to slow down and put off strenuous physical activity until the coolest time of the day. Always drink plenty of water. Do not consume alcoholic or caffeinated beverages. Be careful about what you eat. Foods like meat and other proteins can increase body temperature heat and water loss. Spend as much time as possible in air-conditioned places. Check on elderly friends and neighbors who may be alone.

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