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Heat exhaustion vs. heat stroke - Doctors urge to stay hydrated during intense heat

If you don't stay hydrated, you can experience heat exhaustion or worse heat stroke

With the heat in Southeast Louisiana, doctors are warning people to make sure they are properly hydrated since this time of year emergency rooms see more people with heat related illnesses and things can get serious.

“It felt like the Sahara desert," resident Patrick Mansour said.

Patrick and his father say since it’s so hot, they decide to work out early in the morning. They know that with the intense heat, it can be difficult to exercise as they day progresses.

“This is the hottest Saturday I've had this summer," he said.

Another resident, Michael Fitzpatrick, agrees that the weather has been pretty rough lately. Fitzpatrick decided to get his yard work done early.

"I think as you get a little bit older you get a little bit wiser, but they've been saying on the news how the heat is going to be harsh the past couple of days, so I’ve definitely been noticing it more and more," he said.

There is a possibility of people going to the hospital to seek medical attention if they are too hot and exert themselves too much. Experts say the body cools off when sweat evaporates from our skin. However, with the heat and humidity, that process doesn’t happen which may cause the body to raise its temperature.

That’s why doctors urge you to stay hydrated.

“Drink lots of fluids, in particular with salt and electrolytes, other recommendations include take periodic breaks,” Dr. Jay Kaplan, of LSU Heath and Emergency Medicine said.

If you don’t stay hydrated, you can experience heat exhaustion or worse heat stroke.

Signs of heat exhaustion include fainting, dizziness and excessive sweating. Signs of heat stroke include throbbing headaches, no sweating and red hot dry skin.

"Elderly children and very young children have to be very careful," Dr. Kaplan said.

Doctors also say do not drink alcohol in an effort to stay cool. Alcohol combined with high temperatures means your body may not be able to regulate its own temperature effectively.

Duke Carter can be reached at dcarter@wwltv.com.

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