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Experts: Start of heat wave most risky

May 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
This extreme hot weather can have a profound effect on your health. You may not even realize it, but as the mercury rises your susceptibility to dehydration also increases. So what should you do to stay healthy in this extremely hot weather?Kate Movius and a group of runners started early, but just a few minutes into their workout and they were already feeling beat.

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"It's the heat, it's the running, it's the relentless sun," said Kate. "I'm moving more slowly."

The L.A. County health department issued a hot weather alert warning residents to be careful in the triple-digit heat. At Huntington Hospital, ER physician Roy Aleytes says people always forget how to protect themselves.

"We'll see people sometimes fainting, sometimes people who come in almost describing what sounds like the flu," said Dr. Antelyes. "They'll be tired, they'll have a headache, they'll be dizzy."

We always get hot weather in Southern California, but what people don't realize is that experts say the beginning part of the heat wave is probably the most dangerous. People are unaware and their bodies are not prepared.

"Your body takes a while to adjust to the heat and acclimate with some of the responses, and how our body gets rid of heat, so the beginning part of the heat wave is where we always see things first," said Dr. Antelyes.

Thirst is the first sign of dehydration, but a sure sign of danger is when you don't feel thirsty. That's when you've moved from heat exhaustion into heat stroke.

"Your blood pressure is low, you can have neurologic symptoms from it, and you can have muscle damage from the heat stroke," said Dr. Antelyes.

So until our bodies get used to the heat, experts advise us to wear light, loose clothing, drink plenty of water, and be especially vigilant of seniors and young children, whose bodies can't cool off as quickly.

For more information on staying safe in the heat, click here.

 

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