Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Take Care During A Heat Wave To Avoid Health Risks

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High temperatures have been cooking the city all week, leading to warnings that could have serious consequences if not heeded. NY1's Kafi Drexel filed the following report.

With nearly two dozen heat-related deaths across the country this week, there's clearly a reason for the widespread warnings. Brutal heat like this can be a killer, and keeping a close eye on the young, elderly, and those with poor immune systems is especially important.

However, in this kind of heat, everyone is at risk.

As the temperature goes up, the air quality goes down, making it even tougher to breathe.

In this kind of heat, the body's temperature control system can get easily taxed.

It's important to stay hydrated because we cool ourselves off by sweating. In extreme heat, sweat evaporates faster.

A big tip for staying hydrated is to not wait until you're thirsty to drink water. Stay hydrated by constantly drinking water. Caffeine, sodas and alcoholic beverages can lead to dehydration even though they feel refreshing.

Also, today is not a bad day for sports drinks or even splurging on a salty snack. You need the salt to replace electrolytes.

If there is an outdoor activity that cannot be avoided, make sure to wear light and loose clothing. Avoid exercising in this heat, but if it's necessary, start earlier or later in the day when it is cool and go easy.

When inside, if there is no available air conditioner, make sure to get to a cool place.

This is also when you need to look out for signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Heat stroke happens when core body temperature gets so high that the body stops sweating.

Signs of heat stroke may be dizziness, a throbbing headache, rapid pulse, nausea, confusion or loss of consciousness.

Heat stroke is extremely serious and can cause death, damage to the brain or other vital organs such as the heart.

The signs for heat exhaustion are similar but less serious. In addition to heavy sweating, someone with heat exhaustion may experience muscle cramps and feel faint or extremely tired.

A final tip in this heat that not everyone considers is to check any medication that you regularly take, especially those that can alter mood, affect how much you perspire or impact your fluid balance like water pills.

Remember, everyone is at risk. Make sure to rest as much as possible.

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