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Guy Smarts How to stay safe during the brutal heat wave and prevent heat exhaustion

The Central and Eastern regions of the United States are experiencing a brutal heat wave that's expected to last through at least July 4, according to the National Weather Service.

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How to stay safe during the brutal heat wave and prevent heat exhaustion play

How to stay safe during the brutal heat wave and prevent heat exhaustion

(UNSPLASH)

If you've been looking for an excuse to be a homebody, now is the time to crank up the air conditioning and catch up on Westworld.

The Central and Eastern regions of the United States are experiencing a brutal heat wave that's expected to last through at least July 4, according to the National Weather Service.

As the Weather Forecast Office of New York warns, everyone in an impacted region should be extra careful to avoid heat-related illnesses in the coming days. Over the weekend, New York City temperatures reached the high 90s and public health officials urged residents to stay indoors as a safety precaution.

“Hot and humid weather like what we’re experiencing this weekend can cause heat illness, and even death,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement on July 1. “If you have air conditioning and you have not used it up until now, now is the time to turn it on."

play (NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE)

 

Generally, we're able to regulate our internal temperature by sweating, but the excessive heat makes it harder for our body to cool itself, which could lead to one of three heat-related illnesses. Since these blazing temperatures aren't going away just yet, here's what you need about how to stay safe this Independence Day.

How to Spot and Treat Heat Cramps

The most mild heat-related problem, these painful muscle cramps usually set in during or after intense exercise in high temperatures. If you've decided to pull a Chris Hemsworthand work out despite the heat, watch out for pain and spasms (typically isolated in the legs), heavy sweating and flushed skin. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventionrecommends stopping activity immediately following signs of a heat cramp and hydrating with water. Head to the doctor if you have heart problems or your pain persists for longer than an hour.

 

How to Spot and Treat Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is more severe than cramps, and typically occurs when high temperatures are mixed with humidity and physical activity. As with heat cramps, you may experience heavy sweating, muscle pain, and spasms. But once your condition has escalated, you could also be fatigued, dizzy, nauseous, suffer from a headache, and have cool, clammy skin. To treat heat exhaustion, the CDC advises resting in a cool spot, hydrating with water, and taking a cold bath. If symptoms last longer than an hour or you begin vomiting, it's time to get medical help.

 

How to Spot and Treat Heat Stroke

Heatstroke can be dangerous and cause brain, organ, and muscle damage, or even death, if you don't seek treatment. This serious heat-related injury happens when your body is unable to keep itself cool and reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, you may be confused or delirious, experience slurred speech, or have a racing heart or shallow breathing. Anyone who shows signs of heat stroke should seek medical attention right away. The Mayo Clinic recommends taking a cold shower or cooling off with ice packs in an area safe from the sun while waiting for help.

 

How to Prevent Heat Stroke

Thankfully, heat stroke (or any of the warm-weather illnesses) can be prevented by exerting some caution:

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothes since this will help your body cool down.

  • Sunburns make it more difficult for your body to regulate its temperature, so be sure to slather on the sunscreen.

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If you're going to exercise during excessive heat, be sure to drink at least 16-32 ounces of fluids per hour.

  • Stay indoors during the warmest part of the day. If you must exercise, schedule a morning or evening workout.

Older adults and children are at greater risk of developing one of these conditions as their nervous systems are less able to deal with the changes in body temperature. Certain medications, like antidepressants, beta blockers, diuretics and blood pressure pills can also interfere with your ability to respond to heat.

Your best bet to ride out the heat wave is to stay home and enjoy the AC.

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