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Preventing heat-related illness

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

As the temperatures in South Carolina rise, so does the risk of heat-related illness.

"Heat-related exhaustion, heat stress, heat stroke, and then finally, heat shock, which is very fatal," explained Dr. Saurabh Chatterjee with the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

Children up to age 14 and adults older than 50 are the people who are typically in the danger zone, but anyone can suffer from a heat related illness.

"Very healthy, very fit people in the age range, say 20 to 40 that think nothing is going to happen," Dr. Chatterjee said. "But this is also dangerous to them."

Precaution is key, and there are some common sense things that can help.

"Keep yourself hydrated all the way. Drink plenty of water, wear very light clothing," Dr. Chatterjee said.

If you or someone you know starts feeling sick, you should take action as quickly as possible.

"Lie down flat on the floor, put some ice packs, and have a fan handy nearby, so that the heat is dissipated very fast. Just allow him to rest and if those symptoms are not going away, then immediately call 911," Dr. Chatterjee said.

Experts recommend limiting outdoor time and say it's critical to make sure you never leave a child or pet alone in a car.

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