As heat wave continues doctors warn against dangers of heat illness

Published: Jul. 10, 2022 at 7:40 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -Near record-breaking temperatures are forecasted to continue this week and medical professionals are warning against the dangers of heat illnesses amid this heat wave.

According to the CDC, heat causes about 400 people to die each year in the US. Among those most at risk from heat-related illness are the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, homebound people, and children under 5.

Doctors say the human body is normally able to regulate its temperature through sweating until it is exposed to more heat than it can handle.

Experts say excessive heat can cause sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can escalate rapidly, leading to delirium, organ damage, and even death.

Medical professionals say despite the oppressive temperatures heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable.

Dr. Jason McKnight, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician with the Texas A&M Health Hub. He says the best thing is to stay out of the heat if possible.

”If you’re going to be out there a lot you need to make sure you’re staying hydrated. If you start getting too hot you need to go inside,” said McKnight. " We also need to keep an eye on those that are a little more vulnerable to the extreme temperatures such as kids, people with chronic medical conditions, and the elderly.”

The CDC recommends doing the following to stay cool and prevent heat-related illnesses:

1. Limit outdoor activity, especially in the middle of the day.

2. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

3. Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can.

4. Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

5. Check on a friend or neighbor, and have someone do the same for you.

6. Take cool showers or baths to cool down.

7. Avoid hot and heavy meals.

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