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Be cautious of heat stroke, exhaustion

The Mahoning Valley, like many areas of Ohio and western Pennsylvania, has been experiencing the hottest temperatures of the summer during the last several days, with heat indexes that have climbed above 100 this week.

The combination of high temperatures and humidity make for dangerous conditions, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

As far as weather-related deaths, extreme heat is right at the top.

Drinking plenty of water and limiting time outside are two of the most common-sense ways to protect yourself during the ongoing heat wave.

Adults should drink about two quarts of water per day. Consume water constantly if doing outdoor activities. Waiting until you are thirsty might be too late.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine because they can add to dehydration.

Think about limiting outdoor activities to the morning and evening. Move to shade or air conditioning with the first signs of heat illness.

Children might want to play outside, but parents need to bring them in from time to time to cool off and drink water.

Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include an extremely high body temperature; red, hot and dry skin with no sweating; rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; and confusion and unconsciousness.

Get immediate medical attention if you know someone with these symptoms.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids, the CDC reported. It is the body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and salt contained in sweat. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure and people working or exercising in a hot environment.

The CDC reported the symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting and fainting.

The symptoms will go away by moving the person to a cool environment, providing cool, nonalcoholic drinks and bathing in cool water.

Keep an eye on fellow workers if working outdoors. Check on elderly or sick neighbors to make sure they are dealing with the hot conditions. And remember, it’s never safe to leave children alone in a car. Heat can quickly build inside a vehicle and leave children in danger.

Also, keep an eye on outdoor pets. Make sure they have shade and plenty of fresh water. Better yet, bring them inside — the temperature of asphalt and concrete will be even higher than the outside temperature, and their paws can be easily damaged.

And remember, never leave pets inside a vehicle either.

Temperatures higher than 90 are expected again today, before falling back into the 80s this weekend. Until then, try to take it easy and stay safe.

editorial@tribtoday.com

SCRIPTURE

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.

Psalm 28:7 NKJV

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