Doctors warn of heat illness

The last two weeks of July are statistically the hottest. That heat can make you sick.

According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 7,000 Americans died from the heat over a 10-year period.

“It can be very dangerous, especially for young children and older people,” said Dr. Mark Bonin, ER Director at Good Samaritan Health System.

Bonin said if possible, stay out of the heat altogether.

“Keep indoors. Stay in air conditioned areas,” he said. “Don’t do too much strenuous activity outdoors.”

For people like Jason Capello, that is not possible. He works outside for Lebanon City Public Works.

“It’s really, really humid and sometimes it can just be hard to breathe and you’re like, ‘Aw man, why am I doing this?’ ” Capello said. “It can be really tough to keep cool, especially when you’re out in the sun and you can’t find a lot of shade to stand under.”

Bonin said protecting yourself from the sun is not the same as protecting yourself from the heat. Humidity intensifies the temperature.

“When the humidity is low and we sweat, we get this evaporative cooling and it’s very efficient and works well,” Bonin said. “When humidity is high, the sweat doesn’t evaporate from our bodies well, so we overheat much, much quicker.”

Heat illness ranges from mild heat exhaustion all the way to heat stroke. It can happen quickly, in less than an hour.

Symptoms include fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, dizziness, confusion, and fainting.

To keep that from happening, Bonin said people need to take breaks, wear loose, light-colored clothing, and do whatever they can to stay cool.

Dehydration is also a big concern. To combat that, drink plenty of water. Bonin recommended starting with a liter.

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