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The official start of summer may still be a couple of weeks away, but temperatures are starting to rise all the same.

With the hotter weather comes some risks to your health -- and in ways that might not immediately come to mind.

Mary Martinet is the burn program manager at University Medical Center. She told KNPR's State of Nevada there are several dangers associated with the extreme temperatures of the desert southwest. 

Sun poisoning or Sun burn 

Martinet said these can be a lot more serious that people realize. People may be dehydrated and not know how much fluid they need to replenish.

She said second and third-degree burns can result from over exposure to sun, and to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every two hours.

If you do burn, avoid products labeled 'aloe vera gel' because many do not contain aloe vera and are actually petroleum products that keep heat in, she said.

Heat Cramps

These are the mildest problem associated with over exposure to heat, Martinet said.

Symptoms include painful, involuntary muscle spasms from heavy exercise or strenuous physical activity in the heat.

To remedy, drink juice or sports drink to replenish fluids and electrolytes.

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Heat Exhaustion

According to Martinet, this is the second most serious problem associated with over exposure to heat.

Symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid pulse, faintness, dizziness, and exhaustion is caused by exposure to high heat and strenuous physical activity.

To treat, she said, rest in a cool place, rehydrate with cool water or sports drinks, cool down with a cool shower or cool, wet towels.

Heatstroke

Heatstroke is the most serious problem of exposure to heat and can be life threatening, Martinet said.

Symptoms include high body temperature, altered mental state, nausea, vomiting, caused by exposure to a hot environment and strenuous activity

Martinet said in instances of heatstroke, seek immediate medical help. Medical personnel will try to lower a person's body temperature as quickly as possible through immersion in cold water, cooling blankets or ice packs.

"People make poor choices because they don't feel too hot," Martinet said.

She recommends people drink eight to 12 glasses of water per day and to increase that by three glasses for every five degrees the temperature is above 100 degrees.

Martinet said sodas and alcohol do not keep the body hydrated, so they should be avoided.

Tedd Florendo is a meteorologist at KLAS-TV and has been watching the weather for years.

He said he sees humidity levels in the single digits in Southern Nevada, which is not what you see in the Midwest or East Coast.

"You don't really realize you are dehydrating quicker," Florendo said. "If you're really thirsty in this heat, it's already too late."

He said Clark County designates extreme heat warnings when it gets into the danger zone in the summer. 

Cooling centers

  • Catholic Charities, 1511 N. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (For men only.)
  • The Salvation Army, 31 W. Owens Ave., North Las Vegas, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (For adults only.)
  • The Shade Tree, 1 W. Owens Ave., North Las Vegas, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (For women and children only.)
Guests

Tedd Florendo, KLAS-TV; Mary Martinet, burn program manager, UMC

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