Heat Stress Relief

The heat is here and with temperatures reaching well into the 90's medical officials are working hard to prevent heat related illnesses.

The Azalea City swelters in the summer sun with a heat index of almost 105 degrees and with no signs of cooling off.

Jesse Coward, a construction worker, says, "It’s real hot and it gets unbearable at times but you just kind of get used to it and drink a lot of water and hope the wind blows."

It seems almost second nature to most south Georgians, but drinking plenty of water is the only sure way to beat the heat this summer.

Paramedics say kids are especially vulnerable to dehydration and heat illness.

David Bauch, a Paramedic, says, "Adults need to call them in for regular breaks every 15 or 30 minutes especially with the heat factor being 105 plus the last few days. You need to bring them in and set them down for awhile and cool them down."

Paramedics say they aren't having to pack as many folks into ambulances this summer because people are more aware of how to prevent heat related illnesses. The heat is stifling and officials say limiting time in the sun, wearing light colored clothing and paying attention to your body are important tips that help prevent heat stroke.

Bauch adds, "The first stage is usually heat cramps where you start cramping all over and that kind of thing. You need to immediately get out of the sun."

Paramedics say as long as you're sweating this summer, you're in good shape. Other signs of heat-related illness include confusion, difficulty breathing and cramps in your stomach and legs.

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How to Prevent Heat Illness

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.

  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat or using an umbrella.

  • Drink plenty of water before starting an outdoor activity. Drink extra water all day. Drink less tea, coffee, cola and alcoholic beverages.

  • Schedule vigorous outdoor activities for cooler times of the day, before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.

  • During an outdoor activity, take frequent breaks and drink water or other fluids every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you don't feel thirsty. If you have clear, pale urine, you are probably drinking enough fluids.

  • If you have a chronic medical problem, ask your doctor about how to deal with the heat and about drinking extra fluids and about your medicines.

Warning Signs of Heat Illness

  • Hot, dry skin, but not sweaty.
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness.
  • Frequent vomiting.
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing.

Source: http://familydoctor.org/handouts/088.html (American Academy of Family Physicians).