Summer safety: Signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses

Protect yourself from heat exhaustion

CLEVELAND - Heat-related illnesses kill hundreds of people each year.  As temperatures soar in northeast Ohio, experts are reminding residents to take precautions.

Charles Emerman with MetroHealth Medical Center said, "These problems are most serious in the very young and the very old.  So, people need to be very careful with their little children and very careful with older adults."

Emerman said symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, nausea, headache and rapid heartbeat. 

"If you're feeling weak or dizzy and you can get some place cool, drink lots of  liquid and you feel better, then okay.  If you're not feeling better you need to see your doctor," he said.

Heat stroke is even more serious than heat exhaustion. Emerman said people with heat stroke have red, hot and dry skin. In some cases, they can become unconscious. 

"You need to get to an emergency room as soon as possible," Emerman said.

If you have to be outdoors, Emerman advises finding shade and staying well hydrated.

Emerman said, "if you want to drink sports drinks, a Gatorade, that's fine, but water is really what's important.  When we say liquids, we don't mean beer.  We mean a beverage other than alcohol." 

It's also best not to drink caffeinated beverages.

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