Summer brings heat cramps, exhaustion, stroke danger

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July 31, 2006

The heat is nothing to take lightly. Nationwide, hundreds of people are hospitalized every year.

So how can you avoid being one of those people and stay cool the rest of this summer?

The kids out at May Park today had the right idea: stay in the water and stay cool, because you don't want to make yourself sick by staying out in the heat.

If you can't go out to the pool to cool off, there are several options for you to beat the heat during the hottest time of the year.

Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and the worst, heat stroke, can occur if you over exert yourself outdoors.

"Make sure you take lots of breaks; make sure you get lots of fluids," says Dr. James Wilde, director of MCG's Pediatric Emergency Department. "Better yet, don't get yourself in that high heat environment in the first place."

So if you work in the outdoors and can't avoid being in the sun, the best advice for you is to take it easy and know your limitations.

If you have heat cramps, you'll feel pain in your legs and abdomen.

You can also have heat exhaustion, which makes your skin cold pale and clammy, and can cause you to faint or vomit.

Heat stroke is the worst illness you can get, and that's when your body temperature reaches 106 or higher. You'll have hot dry skin, a rapid and strong pulse and possible unconsciousness.