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Central Georgia's high temps can cause serious heat-related illnesses

According to the CDC, more than 600 people each year in U.S. die from extreme heat.

MACON, Ga. — Heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke happen when the body can't cool down properly. Dr. Patrick Gates Barry at Piedmont Medical Center says these illnesses can be prevented.

Heat stroke symptoms include:

1.  High body temperature of 103ºF (39ºC)

2. Fast or weak pulse

3. red, hot hands

4. Dizziness

5. Loss of consciousness

Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

1. Muscle cramps

2. Heavy sweating

3. Clammy skin

4. Headache 

5. Fainting

Dr. Gates says symptoms can affect anyone.

"Your older population, younger population who don't necessarily have to be exerting themselves but because of preexisting conditions or just their age, they might also have the same thing."

If you see someone in distress, he says there are ways to help.

"Maybe ice packs, if you have some cold water you can spray it on them. Spray bottles are one thing we can do in the ED to kind of evaporative cool somebody by spraying them down with cold water, maybe drinking some cool fluids."

Gates recommends that if someone is having a heat emergency, you can give them water, but they should only take sips to avoid choking. 

If you plan to be out in the sun, the CDC recommends you wear sunscreen, have a hat or umbrella to avoid sun exposure, and don't stay out in the sun for long periods of time. Gates says children can be impacted for sun exposure too. 

"If it's at a sports event, making sure the little ones are staying properly hydrated. Gatorade, water -- drink, drink, drink. I think monitoring the kids' status, 'Is this how they normally act? I know this kids can run around a bunch but now they're not really acting,' so maybe checking in with them and paying a little more attention than you otherwise might given the temperature outside," Gates said. 

For more information about heat related illnesses, you can go to the CDC website for resources.

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