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South Health District

Staying safe in extreme summer heat

The summer heat is blazing across South Georgia. With the heat comes health risks and South Health District wants to encourage residents to take the proper precautions to avoid heat related illnesses.

There are two types of heat related illness: heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. Body temperatures may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. The warning signs of a heat stroke are an extremely high temperature, red, hot and dry skin, a rapid, strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and unconsciousness.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and not consuming enough fluids. It is the body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and salt contained in sweat. The warning signs of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.

“When the temperature and humidity are this high it effects the body’s ability to cool itself properly. Our bodies rely on sweat evaporating quickly to release the heat. Sweat does not evaporate as fast when it is extremely humid leaving people more susceptible to overheating,” said Dana Watson, RN, Brooks County Nurse Manager. “We encourage everyone to take the proper steps to protect yourself this summer. Drink plenty of water and stay inside when possible, and make sure your children do the same.”  

To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high, remember the following tips:

For more information on heat related illness, contact your local health department or South Health District at (229)333-5290. Information is also available on the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov.

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