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Here comes more heat. Here's what to do to stay healthy.

Heat wave
It's hard to keep children indoors even when it's very hot. Making sure they get out earlier in the day before temperatures rise and drink plenty of water will help keep them healthy, experts said.

Temperatures are expected to rise into the 90s in Northeast Ohio Wednesday — with heat index values reaching into the triple digits.

This isn't the first heat wave this year. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a heat advisory on the first day of summer for parts of Northeast Ohio as forecasted temperatures and heat index values reached dangerous levels.

It's not just happening here. In July, temperatures in parts of England topped 100 degrees. At the same time across the U.S., some 55 million people were expected to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees. At least 60 daily high-temperature records were broken, according to the NWS.

Climate change is making these heat waves hotter, longer and more common, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

That means that it is more important than ever for Northeast Ohioans to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is also important to know how to avoid them and what to do if you suspect heat-related disease, medical experts said.

What are the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

Heat exhaustion happens before heat stroke, said Dr. Purva Grover of the Cleveland Clinic Children's Pediatric Emergency Department.

People with heat exhaustion get cold, clammy skin, feel nauseous or dizzy and may develop a headache, she said. They may also experience heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, tiredness and fainting or appear pale, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As the disease progresses towards heat stroke, a person's pulse can begin to race and their skin becomes hot, red and flushed as their body temperature rises, Dr. Grover said.

When someone has heat stroke, their body temperature becomes extremely high, rising above 103 degrees, according to the CDC. Their skin becomes dry, and they do not sweat. Their pulse is rapid, and they may have a throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion or may lose consciousness.

If you suffer a heat-related disease, symptoms like cramps can show up two to three days after exposure to heat, Grover said, so it's important to take care of yourself even after you have gotten out of the heat.

How do you prevent heat-related illnesses?

Hydration is very important for everyone to prevent heat-related illnesses, but it's especially critical for children, said Natisha Bowling, of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland.

That's especially true for kids who play sports, Grover added.

"We have seen an increasing stream of kids coming in with heat-related illnesses," she said. Sometimes they report they didn't drink water because they didn't feel thirsty, Grover said.

By the time the body is asking for water it's already too late, she said. Grover recommends drinking cool, straight water and avoiding sugary and caffeine-laden drinks because they can worsen dehydration.

If someone is reaching the point between heat exhaustion and stroke, salt chips can also help because those symptoms are caused when heat causes salt to move out of cells and causes a loss of cell function, Grover explained.

Kids should go outside to play earlier in the day when its cooler rather than when the sun is at its peak, and they should wear sunscreen, said Bowling. Water activities like pools and misters can help — so can moist bandanas.

Grover added that wearing light, loose clothing and taking breaks from the heat in air-conditioned places like libraries will also help.

That's true too for people of all ages who don't have air conditioning, said Bowling. Even without AC, there are steps you can take to keep your home cool.

"Don’t let the heat in," she said. "Keep doors and windows closed, and get a fan to move the air around."

Bowling urged families to pay close attention to signs of heat-related illness — especially in children.

"Look at the skin. Look for the signs," she said. "Children should not be out when the heat index is 90 or above. When the temps are like that we welcome families to go to the Y. There are pools and activities."

What do you do if someone has heat exhaustion or heat stroke?

People suffering from heat exhaustion should drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages, rest, take a cool shower or bath, get into the air conditioning and wear lightweight clothing, according to the CDC.

For heat stroke, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Get the victim to a shady area.
  • Cool the victim rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
  • Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.
  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
  • Do not give the victim alcohol to drink.
  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
Stephanie is the digital producer of Ideastream Public Media’s health team.