A CLOSER LOOK: Heat-related illnesses and how to stay safe

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ARKANSAS (KFTA) — Thursday’s heat index is expected to be ultra hot, and medical authorities are advising caution and hydration to prevent heat-related illness.

Wednesday had a high temperature of 93 degrees Fahrenheit, and heat index values were at 101 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat will be just as intense Thursday with 92 degree temperature and 101 degree heat index, according to the National Weather Service.

“People should stay as cool as possible and stay hydrated by drinking water, even if they are not thirsty,” said Meg Mirivel, public information director for the Arkansas Department of Health’s Office of Health Communications.

Six heat-related deaths occurred in Arkansas in 2017, and eight in 2018, according to Mirivel.

Intense heat can result in a number of heat-related illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash.

Here are the CDC’s advisories on various heat-related illness symptoms and what to do when suffering from a heat-related illness:

Medical authorities stress the importance of staying hydrated during intense heat.

“If dehydration progresses unchecked, the risk of heat illness increases,” states kendrickfincher.org, a website dedicated to promoting hydration and preventing heat illness.

Mirivel said water is sufficient to stay hydrated in most circumstances. She said sports drinks are a good source of electrolytes that replace the salt and minerals lost when sweating.

Sugary drinks should be avoided, Mirivel said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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