Heat brings underestimated danger to South Texas

Heat-related illness can have permanent, deadly consequences

SAN ANTONIO - If you have lived in South Texas very long, you've likely heard the advice numerous times:

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"Seek shade. Get indoors. Get into some air-conditioning. If you have to be outdoors, take frequent breaks. Get into the shade when you can. Wear loose-fitting clothing, and just generally take it easy," said Dr. Bruce Adams, an emergency room physician at University Hospital.

It's also important to stay hydrated -- primarily with water -- but it doesn't hurt to mix in an occasional sports drink that has electrolytes.

Many groups are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

"We worry a lot about older folks. We worry about some shut-in people. We worry about folks that don't have air-conditioning in their homes, " said Adams.

Children are also more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, but a lot of people who aren't in those compromised groups run in to trouble because they think they can tough the heat out.

"When we hit really high temperatures here in San Antonio, it's important to say, 'Look, this is not the best day for a backyard project,'" said Adams.

Adams says he treats a lot of athletes, construction workers, and tourists for heat-related illnesses.

Heat stroke -- if it doesn't kill you -- can have life-long effects, so it is important to recognize the danger signs.

"If they start to throw up, if they start to feel really hot (or if) they develop a high temperature or high fever, or if they start to get altered, if they look drunk, or they start to slip in to a coma, don't mess around. Call 911 and get them to an emergency room right away," said Adams.

For a list of recent stories John Honore has done, click here.


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