Worried about heat stroke? With the nation's dangerous heat wave continuing its spread across the central and eastern U.S., there's good reason to be: Extreme heat causes more deaths than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to avoid heat stroke - and get life-saving help if you or a loved one falls victim to the high temperatures. Keep clicking to find out what you need to know to stay safe...
Who's at risk?
Some people are particularly vulnerable to extreme heat. These include elderly people, infants, and people with chronic medical conditions.
When it's hot out, air conditioning is a key tool for preventing heat stroke. If you don't have AC at home, seek out a shopping mall, public library, or some other facility that has air conditioning.
Wear light clothing
Wear appropriate clothing - lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting. Top things off with a broad-brimmed hat.
Even if you're not exercising, it's prudent to drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages when the mercury climbs. Don't wait to be thirsty to drink.
A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals lost via perspiration. But people on a low-salt diet should talk with a doctor before drinking sports beverages or taking salt tablets.
Wear sunscreen. Sunburn affects the body's ability to cool itself, and can cause a loss of body fluids. The CDC recommends applying SPF 15 or higher sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside - and reapplying it periodically according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Stay indoors. But if you must go out in dangerously hot temperatures, pace yourself. If the heat leaves you gasping for breath and causes your heart to pound, stop all activity. Get to a cool, shady area and rest.
Don't leave your kids in the car
Don't leave children in your car. Even with the windows cracked open, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to deadly levels within a short period of time. Make sure not to overlook a child who may have fallen asleep in the car.
Know the signs
Watch out for the signs of heat stroke: Red, hot, dry skin; rapid pulse; dizziness or confusion; nausea; throbbing headache; unconsciousness; or an extremely high body temperature (103 degrees or higher, measured orally). If someone shows symptoms of heat stroke, get him/her to a shady area and cool him/her with water, ice, or any other means. Do not give the victim anything to drink. Summon medical help right away.