Preventing heat-related illnesses, staying safe in summer sun

Updated: Jul. 21, 2017 at 7:34 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - As the temperatures increase, so do your chances of getting a heat-related illness.

While there are numerous heat-related illnesses, Dr. Burnestine Taylor touched on three: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

"If you're doing physical activity and your muscles are cramping, you're sweating, and you have no other symptoms, more than likely that's heat or muscle cramps," said Taylor. "That is the least of the heat-related illnesses. The next, more severe, is heat exhaustion. You still might have muscle cramps, the same sweating, but now you might feel nauseated, you may feel tired, and have a headache."

Heat stroke, however, is the most severe and according to Taylor, those suffering from heat stroke need to seek medical attention immediately.

"Now you're confused, you're passing out, maybe unconscious, you can't think, you're nauseated, dizzy, and your pulse rate is very high. Your skin may actually feel hot because your temperature is actually rising. That is a medical emergency and you want to seek medical attention right away," Taylor said.

But the good news is, all are easily prevented.

"You want to try to stay in a cool environment with air conditioning. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, and you want to stay hydrated. You want to drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages," Taylor said.

Cheric Brackett, a Montgomery parent, said that he makes sure his son is hydrated at all times.

"We try to stay cool, make sure we drink a lot of fluids, and sunscreen, and don't stay out in the heat too long," said Brackett.

Lequadris Horton said she does the same thing with her son.

"I make sure he has plenty of ice water and when we come to the park, we keep bags with some ice packs beside his milk and juice, and put him in loose clothing, and comfortable stuff so he can just run around and play," Horton said.

According to Taylor, the elderly and young children are more susceptible to falling victim to a heat-related illness, so it's a good thing Brackett and Horton are taking the proper precautions.

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