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Beware signs of heat exhaustion

By Staff
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
August is in full swing and the temperatures seem to be rising instead of falling. With local thermometers exceeding 100 degrees, everyone needs to be concerned with heat safety.
Heat exhaustion is a serious health condition that can lead to a heat stroke. The signs of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, fatigue, headache, pale and clammy skin, thirst, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, nausea and vomiting, Russellville fireman Lt. Justin Green said.
"The best thing to do when these symptoms set in is to get cooled off by getting in a shaded area and drinking plenty of fluids," Green said.
He added that fanning yourself and ice packs help with the cooling process. However, if someone is already to the point they have nausea and are vomiting, they need to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
"Once you have nausea and are vomiting, you are pretty much at the turning point of a heat stroke," Green said.
He added that once a person's core body temperature reaches 104 degrees, the condition is classified as a heat stroke, and the person should seek immediate medical attention.
The symptoms of heat stroke are the absence of sweat, difficulty breathing, erratic or crazy behavior and coma.
"Heat stroke can lead to heart death, and the body starts shutting down," Green said.
He said those most at risk for heat exhaustion and stroke include the elderly, pregnant women and children under five-years-old.
"The best way to prevent heat exhaustion and stroke is to drink plenty of cool, not icy fluids," Green said. "Avoid drinks that contain sugar, alcohol, salt or caffeine."
He added that while water is the best thing to drink, sports drinks like Gatorade or PowerAde are also good to replenish lost fluids.
"Water is usually enough to reverse dehydration [which leads to heat exhaustion]," Green said.