Extreme heat poses major health hazards - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Extreme heat poses major health hazards

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(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Oppressive heat and humidity are stifling the south this week as temperatures soar toward the triple digits.

On Wednesday, most cities in Alabama reported heat indexes ranging between 101 and 106 degrees, posing a serious threat for anyone spending time outdoors.

Montgomery Fire Medic, Lieutenant Anthony Welch says a healthy adult's body can quickly suffer from heat exhaustion before they are even aware.

"Cramping is a major sign of symptom from heat related injuries," Welch said. "Hydration is key. You are losing as much as you are taking in most of the time."

Welch used an infrared camera to measure the temperature of one of our WSFA 12 News units, which had been off for only 20 minutes. The first reading came in at 100 degrees.

Welch's car, which had been parked for 6 hours, came in at 147 degrees, well past the medical definition of heat stroke and organ failure.

For those who find themselves overheated, Welch recommends passive cooling.

"That means removing layers of clothing and drinking tepid water instead of ice water. It helps replenish your body."

Waiting to hydrate until you start sweating is too late.

If you are planning for a long day outside, it's recommended to begin pushing fluids one day in advance.

Welch explains the common misconception, "You have to force yourself to hydrate. A lot of people say ‘I'm drinking beer today, and I'm cutting grass tomorrow. I'll hydrate then.' Drinking beer is actually dehydrating you, and then your hydration tomorrow is only catching you up on what you took away yesterday, and not what replenishing what you are losing that day while you are out in the sun doing different activities."

Children and the elderly, and those with high blood pressure, are most sensitive to heat-related illnesses.

It's recommended you seek medical care if you begin cramping, become dizzy or get a headache while overheated.

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