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Health Officials Warn: Be Careful Of Too Much Heat

Hot weather is on everyone´s mind, but health officials warn when temperatures rise, folks need to be aware of how to cope with the heat.

Slow down and avoid strenuous activity. Authorities say to stay indoors as much as possible — Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing since light colors will reflect away some of the sun´s energy.

And drink plenty of water regularly and often even if you don´t feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good briefly, but make the heat´s effects on your body worse. This is especially true about beer, which dehydrates the body.

Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.

Some heat-related illnesses include heat exhaustion and heat stroke which can be a serious life risk. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.

Heat stroke resluts in hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high– as high as 105 degrees F. If the person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, skin may be wet; otherwise, it will feel dry. If help is needed, call 9-1-1.

For more information on coping with the heat, contact the county public health department or the American Red Cross.