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Know the signs of heat-related illnesses

When it comes to the heat, prevention is crucial and there some tips people should follow.

WACO, Texas — Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the U.S. resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's easy in Texas to dismiss the heat but it is very serious and there are precautions you can take," Kelly Craine said, the communications lead at Waco-McLennan Public Health District. 

If you plan any outdoor activities in Central Texas, Craine said people should choose the cooler parts of the day.

"That's morning or later in the evening. Recognize that the hottest part of the day, midday, is really not a safe time to do that," Craine said. 

If you work outdoors or if you plan on being outside for several hours, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are major concerns and it's important to know the difference. 

Heat exhaustion:

Symptoms: Heavy sweating, Weakness or tiredness, cool, pale, clammy skin; fast, weak pulse, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, headache, fainting,

First Aid: Move person to a cooler environment, preferably a well air conditioned room. Loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths or have person sit in a cool bath. Offer sips of water. If person vomits more than once,

Seek immediate medical attention if the person vomits, symptoms worsen or last longer than 1 hour

Heat stroke:

Symptoms: Throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, body temperature above 103°F, hot, red, dry or damp skin, rapid and strong pulse, fainting, loss of consciousness.

First Aid: Call 911 or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Delay can be fatal. Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment. Reduce body temperature with cool cloths or bath. Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s. A fan can make you hotter at higher temperatures. Do NOT give fluids.

Using a fan to blow air in someone's direction may actually make them hotter if heat index temperatures are above the 90s. For more information on all of these heat related illnesses, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site.

When it comes to the heat, prevention is crucial.

"If you're going to be outside all day you know whether you're having a barbecue, at the park, a picnic, going to the lake, that's great fun but just remember stay hydrated and use that sunscreen," Craine said.