Beat the heat: how to avoid the dangers of heat-related illnesses

Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) -Central Texas is seeing triple digits and has heat advisories across the region.

The heat can be dangerous.

“The triple digits in Corsicana is ridiculous,” Tammy Pennington from Corsicana said. “It’s really hot. My baby girl is enjoying the splash pad to keep cool. Every once and a while, I will go get my hair wet.”

Pennington is in Waco for work, but she says it’s hot no matter where you go. She knows all about trying to stay cool in the summer heat because she works in construction.

“It’s crazy,” Pennington said. “I will be sweating real bad and taking breaks every 30 minutes because it’s so hot.”

Taking breaks and cooling off with some water like Pennington are great ways to beat the heat and be proactive against heat-related illnesses.

Heat-related illnesses fall under three different categories: dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Knowing the difference between the three and what signs to look out for can save a life.

Dr. Lauren Irvin, a primary care sports medicine physician with Baylor Scott & White, says it’s critical taking steps before you feel dehydrated like drinking water.

“It’s water and electrolytes because we lose both in our sweat, both are important to keep us running and going,” Dr. Irvin said. “It’s also wearing sunscreen. We lose more sweat when our skin is not protected.”

It’s important when you are outside to look for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“When you are feeling hot, if you stop sweating, if you start feeling a little dizzy,” Dr. Irvin said. “All of those are signs that you need to stop. Get in the shade if you can, inside is ideal, and hydrate as much as possible.”

If you are experiencing a heat stroke, you can also start to feel confused or tired. That’s when it’s time to call 911.

Heatstroke can cause brain damage, organ failure, and death.

While you wait for first responders, you can also place cool rags on your body.

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