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Triple-Digit Temperatures Causing More Heat-Related Illnesses

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The triple-digit temperatures happening across all of North Texas can be dangerous and even deadly. MedStar Mobile Healthcare, in Tarrant County, saw a near record number of calls Thursday and are expecting more today.

Though you may not be outside for long, expert say it takes less than an hour to dehydrate in triple-digit temperatures.

Heat stress, heat fatigue, heat cramps and heat exhaustion are all forms of hyperthermia. It's important to find ways to stay cool and know the signs of hyperthermia.

MedStar Field Operations Supervisor Emily Hill suggests getting out of the heat, removing anything (hat, scarf) from their head, slowly sipping water (preferably cool) and putting an ice pack on your neck.

"When you're dehydrating you'll start feeling muscle cramps. You'll start feeling tired. You'll notice the sweat, that you're feeling real hot," she said. "When you start feeling sick to your stomach, you get lightheaded, dizzy and you start feeling confused that's when you've enter the heat exhaustion, heat stroke point."

Untreated heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke suddenly and cause unconsciousness within minutes. Older adults, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk in the extreme heat. However, even young and healthy people can be negatively affected during very hot weather.

As we enter another hot weekend, North Texans are being encouraged to stay hot weather aware:

  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water during the day, especially if you are engaged in any strenuous activity.  Sports drinks are a good choice if you're exercising or working in hot conditions, but water is a good way to hydrate as well.
  • Ventilate: Stay in a place where there is plenty of air circulating to keep your body cool.  If you are indoors and don't have access to air conditioning, open windows and use a fan.
  • Cover Up: Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing to avoid absorbing the sun's light and trapping heat.  Wear a hat to shield yourself from the sun, but once you feel yourself getting warm, remove any items covering your head which can trap heat close to your body.
  • Limit Activity: Heatstroke can occur in less than an hour when you are participating in strenuous activity during a hot day.  If you feel yourself getting hot or light-headed, stop your activity and rest in a cool place out of the sun.  Be sure to drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after any strenuous activity.
  • Check on Loved One's: The elderly are especially vulnerable to heat related emergencies.  Many elderly residents are not aware of how hot it may get in their residence.  Call on older friends and family members regularly to assure they are doing okay.
  • Kids in Hot Cars: Each summer, police, fire departments and EMS respond to calls where a child is left in a hot car. DO NOT leave children unattended in cars and be sure your vehicles are secured to prevent a curious child from becoming trapped inside on a hot day.
    • These recommendations are also good for your pets!!
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