Warnings of heat-related illnesses

COLUMBIA, Mo. - With heat indices expected to make outside temperatures feel like 105 degrees Tuesday, paramedics are urging people to keep an eye out for warning signs that someone may be overheated.

"If they're starting to get a headache, nausea, vomiting, that type of stuff, we need to take them inside, fan them and give them fluid," said Lisa Todd with the Columbia Fire Department.

Todd said there are three types of heat-related illnesses that all have similar symptoms.

"There's heat cramps, there's heat exhaustion and there's heat stroke," she said. "Heat stroke is the worst."

Todd said the age of a person and time spent outside all play a factor.

"It just depends on how long someone is out," she said. "Usually we see the heat exhaustion and heat stroke in people as they get older. It's not as common in the younger people. Their bodies compensate a little better."

Todd also said there's a pattern she sees when responding to calls for heat related problems.

"It's usually someone that's not typically outside or someone who maybe has been ill lately and they're trying to do too much," she said.

Todd said staying well hydrated can help prevent heat strokes or exhaustion.

She said alternating between sports drinks and water can help, but that water is the most important.

ABC 17 Stormtrack Meteorologist Jessica Quick explains why it feels like 105 degrees when the temperature is really only 95 degrees.

"We're comparing the temperature to relative humidity and you take that into account," Quick said. "So we watch the dew points and when those dew points get up to around 70 degrees and whenever you have a temperature between 90 and 95 degrees, that's when you start combining moisture in the air. That's when it starts to feel like 105 degrees, when you get those high dew points plus high temperatures in high combination."

Todd said it's important for those who are not used to being outside on a regular basis to take breaks from the heat. She said she recommends 15 minute breaks for every 20 to 30 minutes a person is out in the heat.

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ABC 17 News Stormtrack

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