Doctors concerned about people's health in heat

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Staying cool is more than just a convenience, it's a necessity for your health and safety.

Paramedics are running more calls and emergency workers here are ready to treat more patients for heat-related illnesses over the next few days.  Doctors say their biggest concern is dehydration because that can lead to so many other health issues.

With temps approaching or exceeding triple digits here in Central Virginia over the next few days, healthcare workers are hoping people will take the heat seriously.

Dr. Lauren Goode says, "I think a lot of people sometimes don't realize how dehydrated you can become when you sweat a lot.  You can get dehydrated very quickly in this amount of heat."

Here's some basics to think about.  Doctors say the message is simple but important.  Drink plenty of water all day long, and avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, which increase the risk of dehydration.

Dr. Goode says, "Just stay in the shade; make sure you drink lots of water; if you have excessive sweating, make sure you get a little bit of a sports drink to keep your electrolytes in balance as well."

If you have no choice but to be outside, wear light-colored, loose fitting clothing over the next few days, but make sure it's a tight knit, so you don't get sunburned through your clothes.  If you want to go outside for recreation, just think about the timing.

Goode says, "I would recommend staying out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, especially during noon and one, all the way up to the 4 in the evening."

Seniors already experiencing health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure or breathing problems are at greatest risk for developing heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, exhaustion and cramps.

Goode says, "A lot of them may be on medications that are fluid pills,which tend to make them more easily dehydrated anyways, so they in particular have to be very careful about the fluid intake they have."

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