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To beat the heat the best offense is to have a good defense against heat related illnesses. It just so happens that our best defense in these heat conditions is the correct fluid intake and some safety tips that everyone can easily follow. If you are going to be working outside, participating in sporting events, or any type of strenuous activity then drink water, Gatorade, or a sports drink at the rate of eight ounces for every 30 minutes of activity. Have everyone hydrate prior to any outdoor activity and take rest breaks. Just as a reminder children usually only consume about 50 % of what is needed. When you sit down for a meal eat smaller meals more often and avoid drinking a beverage with caffeine or alcohol. During activity outside wear loose fitting, light colored, and light weight clothing. Protect your skin with sun block prior to going outside and wear a hat to protect your face. Try to stay in the shade as much as possible and work in the mornings and afternoon if possible. Try to avoid the hours of 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. because it is the hottest part of the day in high heat index conditions. Remember when the heat index is high stay indoors as much as you possibly can. If air conditioning is not available to you then stay on the lowest level of your home as possible. You may also consider going to a place that is air conditioned and spending time there like the mall, library, movie theatres, or other area events. When traveling to these events if you must stop in your vehicle never leave your child or pet alone in the vehicle. Remember children are unable to dissipate as much sweat as adults and they produce more metabolic heat during physical exercise. Some common signs of heat-related illnesses are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Heat cramps are painful cramps in the muscle that occur during exercise or work in extreme heat. Heat exhaustion is when you spend time in high heat conditions and do not drink enough water; some common symptoms are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, clammy skin and weakness. Heat stroke is when the temperature of your core body temperature rises quickly; some symptoms may include combativeness, strong rapid pulse, red, hot, and dry skin, staggering, faintness, and lack of sweating. Depending on the severity of the situation, seek medical attention immediately. Practice these tips this summer and avoid a heat related illness. Remember keep your body cool and well hydrated in high heat conditions. Educate children on how to stay hydrated and to take frequent rest breaks to avoid heat related illnesses. If you know someone that is at high risk for a heat related illness check-up on them frequently. References: Wadena Pioneer Journal; (FEMA Offers Tips to Beat the Heat)/ wadenapj.com Broken Arrow Ledger; (Tips to Help Children and Elderly Beat the Heat)/ baledger.com Brookfield Patch; (Beat the Heat: Forecast, Tips and Places to go)/ brookfield-wi.patch.com Tips to Beat the Heat; myfoxdc.com