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Heat-Related Illnesses On The Rise, Just Like The Temperature

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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - With yet another day of triple digit weather (Thursday marked 27 in a row), hospitals are seeing an increase in the number of patients suffering from heat-related illnesses.

Often, health care providers say, people don’t realize the symptoms until it’s too late.

At the Trinity Trails in Fort Worth Thursday, the sizzling high temperatures kept many runners away.

“Honestly, it feels like it’s hotter than normal,” said runner Kenny Tillman, who took his chances with the heat. “I feel like I get my best workouts on a hot day.”

“When it’s these kinds of temperatures like we’ve been having lately, you can get heat exhaustion pretty quickly,” said Dr. Terrance McCarthy with Texas Health Harris Methodist in Fort Worth. “Prevention is the best treatment for heat illnesses, and the best way to do that is avoid strenuous activity during the peak heat hours.”

Those who have health problems, such as obesity, or those who are not acclimated to hot weather can develop signs of heat exhaustion in just a matter of minutes when the temperatures outside exceed 100.

“With heat exhaustion you start getting light-headed and nauseated, your heart rate will go up, and you’ll start sweating heavily,” McCarthy said. “As far as treatment, get out of the sun, get in the air conditioning and drink a lot of cool liquids.”

McCarthy suggests staying hydrated by drinking a combination of water and an electrolyte formula, such as Gatorade.

“Keeping lots of water, ice water, that’s the most important thing,” said bicycle enthusiast Mary Noon, who is used to working out in the heat.

She hits the trails prepared and pays attention to what her body tells her.

“If you get a headache, like, your head’s throbbing, if you’re overly thirsty, I would pull over find a shady spot,” Noon explained,  “and get some water as soon as you possibly could.”

“If I show any fatigue, too much sweating, over-exertion, or if I start getting dizzy or anything, I call it quits immediately,” Tillman said.

Heat stroke is the more severe form of heat exhaustion, which can lead to organ failure and even death.

Signs include a high temperature and a lack of perspiration from extreme dehydration.

Doctors say those suffering from heat stroke need to see a medical professional immediately.

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