A hot weekend ups chances for heat-related illnesses

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The heat is on this weekend!  The WAVE 3 Weather team says 90-degree temps are returning to the Kentuckiana forecast, and will last through much, if not all, of next week.

Meteorologist Kevin Harned says Saturday will be the warmest day with highs in the mid to upper 90s.  With the higher temperatures come more chances for heat-related illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 400 Americans die each year due to summer's sweltering heat.

The National Weather Service asserts that excessive heat was the number one weather-related killer, causing more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms and extreme cold.

Everyone is at risk when temperatures rise above 90 degrees but experts say the elderly and the very young are most susceptible to heat and heat-related illnesses like heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Doctors say signs of heat-related illnesses include nausea, dizziness, flushed or pale skin, heavy sweating and headaches.

Here are some tips from the American Red Cross to prevent heat related injuries:

  • Dress for the heat
    • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.
  • Drink water
    • Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often
    • Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat.
  • Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity
    • If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 and 7 a.m.
  • Stay indoors when possible
    • If air-conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine.  Remember that electric fans do not cool, they simply circulate the air.
  • Be a good neighbor
    • During heat waves, check in on elderly residents in your neighborhood and those who do not have air conditioning.

Doctors recommend if a victim refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.

The American Red Cross says victims of heat-related illness should be moved to a cool place, given cool water to drink and ice packs or cool wet cloths should be applied to the skin.

The Salvation Army will be opening cooling stations for people in need whenever the temperature is expected to reach 95 degrees.

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