Watch Out for Heat-Related Illnesses

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With parts of the country enduring a scorching heat wave that forecasters predict may linger a while, it's important to be aware of heat-related illnesses.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, nausea, and paleness of the skin.   

"Very often the first thing a person notices is lightheadedness, dizziness, and not uncommon to get heat cramps, where the whole body cramps up." Dr. Bobby Lewis, an ER doctor at UAB Hospital, told WBRC in Birmingham, Ala.

"And heat stroke is the worst thing," Lewis explained. "That's when a person loses the ability to sweat and regulate the temperature at all."   

In order to beat the heat, medical experts suggest drinking lots of liquids.

"Drink water before you go outdoors so you can be properly hydrated when you begin activity,"Dr. James Muntz, sports medicine physician at The Methodist Hospital in Houston told Occupational Health and Safety magazine.

"But if you plan to be active in the heat for an hour or more, water may not be enough -- sports drinks, or electrolyte drinks, are a good supplement," he added.

Also, any outdoor work or exercise should be done in the early morning or in the evening when it is cooler.

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