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How too much heat can affect your health - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

How too much heat can affect your health

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Is it too hot for your health? It's been a hot and humid summer in our region and that poses risks for people.

Doctors say too much heat isn't safe for anyone, especially older folks and those with health problems. A simple walk in extreme heat can make you feel dizzy and weak, and being hot for too long can cause several different illnesses that fall under the umbrella of hyperthermia. Those include heat cramps, swelling in your ankles, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The hot and humid conditions expected this weekend are prime conditions for people getting overheated.

"So hyperthermia can be very serious," said Dr. Steve Leffler of the UVM Medical Center. "We don't see a lot of it in Vermont, but we typically see it when we have very hot and humid weather together. It's the combination because your body's way of cooling is sweating and when you have high heat and humidity you can't actually evaporate the sweat which is what's necessary to cool your body down."

Leffler says people die of hyperthermia every year in this country. During this year's Vermont City Marathon, he says doctors at UVM Medical Center treated seven people with very serious hyperthermia.

He recommends people drink plenty of liquids, exercise or do strenuous activity in the early morning or later at night, stay away from alcohol and caffeine, and use fans and air conditioning. He also reminds people to check on their elderly family, friends and neighbors.

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