The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

June 21, 2014

Beating the Heat: Tips offered for heat illness prevention

PALESTINE —

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year.

With the summer months in full swing and temperatures slowing climbing with each day that passes, Anderson County Emergency Management Office would like to remind people to take the proper precautions to avoid heat related illnesses.

“During extremely hot and humid weather the body's ability to cool itself is affected,” County Emergency Management Coordinator Tammy Lightfoot reported. “When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and heat-related illnesses may develop.

“These illnesses can range from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to more serious heat stroke,” she added. “Heat stroke is the most severe and dangerous of heat-related illnesses that can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.”

Age (older adults and young children), obesity, fever, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, prescription drug and alcohol use, and sunburn are some factors or conditions that can make someone susceptible to heat related illnesses.

“Families and communities can cope with heat-related emergencies by preparing in advance and by working together as a team,” Lightfoot said. “Anyone at any age can be affected by the heat.”

To help citizens enjoy the summer, the office has a few facts and precautions that can help beat the heat and have fun.

Knowledge and what symptoms to look for can help prevent heat illnesses:

Dehydration — Dehydration means the body does not have as much water and fluids as it should. It can be caused by losing too much fluid, not drinking enough water or fluids, or both.

The most obvious symptom is thirst; however, victims may also experience headache, eyes stop making tears, sweating may stop, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, heart palpitations and light-headedness (especially when standing).

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