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How to Protect Yourself from Heat Illnesses

More than 600 people die from extreme heat every year in the US.  And the CDC warns July is the deadliest month for it. Experts say it's not just triple digit weather that can be dangerous. Here's what to watch for... and how to stay safe.

Adrianne Gonzales is prepared when she goes hiking in the Hollywood Hills.

"I drink lots of water, especially because I'm preggy. I drink double the amount of water."
A reporter asks "Do you stop and take breaks?"
"Oh yeah, for sure."

Heat waves across the country this summer are being blamed for several deaths and hospitalizations.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates nearly 40-percent of heat-related deaths happen in July.

"It doesn't need to be a 100, if it's warm and humid, if you're doing an activitiy that's very strenuous... you can suffer a heat illness," warns Dr. Tom Waters of the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Waters says it's crucial to recognize heat illness.  "By the time you're thirsty, you're already getting dehydrated."

Signs of heat exhaustion include nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, and headaches.  
The young or elderly are at higher risk.

"This is not something you want to tough it out or work through. If you start to get symptoms of heat exhaustion, what you need to do is remove yourself from the heat stress,"  Dr. Waters stresses.

 If you don't, it could become heat stroke. That's when the body can no longer cool itself and confusion sets in. If left untreated it can be life threatening.

Jose Perez and his crew drink plenty of water to stay hydrated when they're fixing gas lines during the hottest part of the day.
 
"We try to go do some work then go take a break, a water break, shade break... whatever we gotta do to keep going. But if it gets too much, we're done."

Nearly half of heat-related deaths last year happened indoors.  Victims were generally women over the age of 75, often living alone.

Experts say prevention is the best way to beat a heat illness.

(Danielle Nottingham, CBS News)


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