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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Today is going to be another hot and humid day across North Texas. But the weather conditions aren’t just uncomfortable — they can also be very dangerous. With a Heat Advisory in affect and some of the hottest temperatures so far this year in the forecast for the metroplex, it’s important to know the signs of heat stress and ways to keep yourself safe.

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When the temperature and the humidity is high you’re body can’t cool itself through natural sweat functions. Doctors say those days can be especially dangerous for people who are accustomed to being outdoors.

So, when it’s hot and muggy outdoor workers, joggers and cyclists need to be especially careful. MedStar Emergency Medical Service paramedic Marshall Sharp says many people who are used to cooling their bodies by sweating may actually be making their body temperatures rise.

“There is so much water in the air already that when you go to sweat you’re going to sweat more, and it’s not going to cool you as much. Plus, you are going to end up losing more water.”

The best advice to avoid heat injuries is to hydrate and stay indoors if it gets too hot.

With the sticky weather and upcoming triple-digit temperatures, workers with MedStar say they’re expecting the number of heat-related emergency medical calls to increase.

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A file photo shows the sun shining on a hot day. (credit: Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

A file photo shows the sun shining on a hot day. (credit: Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

North Texans should remember that prolonged or intense exposure to the heat could cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Dr. Neal Richmond, the medical director for MedStar in Fort Worth, explained, “Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses large amounts of water and salt through excessive sweating, particularly through hard physical labor or exercise.”

Heatstroke occurs when the body suffers from long, intense exposure to heat and loses its ability to cool itself. But it is important to know that for adults, heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57-degrees.

Some of the symptoms of heat exhaustion include paleness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. And know that a case of heat exhaustion can escalate to heatstroke in just a few minutes. Signs of heatstroke include confusion, vomiting, hot or flushed dry skin, rapid heartbeat, decreased sweating and shortness of breath.

“If you’re going to be doing anything outdoors during the high-temperature summer months, we recommend drinking plenty of water and frequently cooling off in the shade or indoors,” suggests MedStar paramedic Macara Trusty.

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion can be prevented if you —

  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water during the day, especially if you are engaged in any strenuous activity.  Sports drinks are a good choice if exercising or working in hot conditions, but water is good as well.
  • Ventilate: Stay in a place where there is plenty of air circulating to keep your body cool.  If you are indoors and don’t have access to air conditioning, open windows and use a fan.
  • Cover Up: Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing to avoid absorbing the sun’s light and trapping heat.  Wear a hat but if you start to get too warm take it off so the heat won’t get trapped close to your body.
  • Limit Activity: Heatstroke can occur in less than an hour when you are participating in strenuous activity during a hot day.  If you feel yourself getting hot or light-headed, stop your activity and rest in a cool place out of the sun.
  • Check on Loved One’s: Young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to heat related emergencies. So keep an eye on the kids, and contact older friends and family members regularly.
  • Kids in Hot Cars: DO NOT leave children unattended in cars and be sure your vehicles are secured to prevent a curious child from becoming trapped inside. Behind car crashes, heatstroke/hyperthermia is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 15.
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