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Heat exhaustion symptoms to look out for during this week's heat wave

We’re amid the dog days of summer—the hottest, most humid time of year.

YORK, Pa. — We’re amid the dog days of summer—the hottest, most humid time of year. With extreme temperatures expected this week, here are some things to know about heat-related illness.

Just one hour outside in the sun can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Experts suggest limiting your time outdoors.

“The main thing is to get out of the heat quickly," Dr. Valda Crowder, site director of emergency medicine at UPMC Community General Osteopathic Hospital in Harrisburg told FOX43. "It’s okay if you’re feeling warm for short periods of time, but you need to actually move into a cool space, particularly if you’re exercising. You really don’t want to be exercising between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.”

The main difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke is that heat exhaustion signals the body’s core temperature is above normal, while heat stroke can lead to organ damage.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Weakness or muscle cramps
  • Excessive thirst

If this happens to you or a family member, doctors say to find a cool air-conditioned place, drink water, take a cold shower, or use a cold compress to cool down.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Headache
  • Confusion or delirium
  • May lose consciousness
  • No sweating/dry skin
  • Hot, red skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Body temperature above 104 degrees

Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency. If someone you know is experiencing it, call 911. You can apply cold compresses to the body, but do not give fluids.

Staying hydrated is always essential, but even more so when you’re sweating.

“What happens is you get hot, your blood vessels dilate and they get bigger, and you’re also sweating and you’re losing fluids," Dr. Crowder explained. "So the vessel is getting bigger and it has less going through it. Hydration is really important during this time period.”

If you’re spending a whole day outside in severe heat, experts recommend drinking eight to 16 bottles of water. Water that is room temperature or alkaline absorbs into the body faster for immediate hydration.

Lancaster County is offering cooling centers for older adults who have no access to air conditioning.

The following cooling center locations are open July 19 to July 22 during the hours indicated below:

  • Columbia Senior Center, Columbia United Methodist Church
    • 510 Walnut Street, Columbia
    • 7:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
    • Ph: 717-684-4850
  • Elizabethtown Area Senior Center
    • 70 South Poplar Street, Elizabethtown
    • 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    • Ph: 717-367-7984
  • Lititz Senior Center, Lititz United Methodist Church
    • 201 East Market Street, Lititz
    • Wednesday and Thursday only, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
    • Ph: 717-626-2800
  • Millersville Senior Center, St. Paul Lutheran Church
    • 222 North George Street, Millersville
    • Tuesday and Wednesday only, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Ph: 717-871-9600
  • Next Gen Senior Center
    • 184 South Lime Street, Quarryville
    • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Ph: 717-786-4770
  • SACA Senior Center
    • 545 Pershing Avenue, Lancaster
    • 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
    • Ph: 717-295-7989
  • Lancaster Rec Senior Center
    • 525 Fairview Avenue, Lancaster
    • 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Ph: 717-399-7671

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