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How to protect yourself from heat-related illnesses during the dangerous heatwave

As it grows hotter, so does the importance of being aware of heat illnesses and how to avoid them. The excessive heat warning has been extended to Sunday, June 20. It's important to watch out for heat exhaustion and heat strokes. Both are very serious conditions.

Heat exhaustion starts with dehydration, muscle weakness, heavy sweating, nausea, and possible fainting. Your mind and body reach a failing point. A heat stroke is when you experience severe confusion and possibly start to have seizures.

"It is extremely hot, and you have to kind of be aware of that and take precautions," said JFK Memorial Hospital emergency room director, Dr. Andrew Kassinove. "As you're going outside, you have to recognize that if it's over 100 degrees, 110 degrees, 115 degrees, that you're going to hit these heat illnesses quickly and so you have to kind of watch what you're doing."

Dr. Kassinove recommends calling 911 if someone you know starts not behaving like themselves or becomes really confused or irritable. These could be symptoms of heat illness. Head to the emergency room if you start to feel very dehydrated and feel body aches. There are ways to stay ahead of the heat and reduce your risk.

"I would say drinking water, as limiting your exposure outside, you know, staying covered up wearing a hat and being aware," said Dr. Kassinove.

He also said taking different medications and drinking alcohol can increase your risk of heat illness.

"A lot of medications are risk factors for getting these heat illnesses. So blood pressure medications and anti-depressant medications and all of these can change your tolerance to heat and make it difficult to sort of know when to get out of the heat," said Dr. Kassinove.

Dr. Kassinove has started to see more patients with heat-related illnesses and urges others to always have water and stay out of the sun as much as possible.

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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