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Protecting yourself against heat illness

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June 11, 2008

Albany -- It's that time of year again when hot, humid weather makes it's way into southwest Georgia. And everyone feels its effects.

"If I had come out later, it would've been pretty intense. You just gotta work to beat the heat," says jogger Teresa Bowman. She has changed her exercise schedule to early mornings, but even then, she says it still can get too hot.

"Saturday was one of those events. It was pretty hot. At 10 o'clock in the morning, it was really hot and we had to hydrate a little more and rest a little more."

With temperatures crawling into the triple digits, keeping hydrated is a must. But people need to be aware of the warning signs that their body getting too hot.

"Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, throbbing head ache, a pounding pulse -- those are certainly signs that your body is getting over heated," says SW GA Health District Deputy Director Brenda Greene.

And if you don't think heat related illnesses are dangerous, look no further than statistics. From 1979 to 2002, excessive heat exposure accounted for 8,996 death in the United States. During this period, more people died from extreme heat than from hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, flood, and earthquakes combined.

But there are two demographic groups that certainly stand a greater chance of becoming one of those numbers.

"The elderly and the young children imparticular. Those age groups are often not able to regulate their temperature as easily as average adults," says Greene.

And if anyone if exhibiting the symptoms of heat exhaustion get them to cool location and give them lots of water. In the case of heat stroke, call 911 immediately and keep the person cool.

Also, keep in mind that we're still more than a week away from the first day of summer.

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