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Doctor’s advice for protection in extreme heat conditions

Summer officially started last week with the summer solstice and forecasts suggest this weekend will be an especially hot one. The heat index—a measure of how hot it feels—could reach triple digits and that could mean trouble for some people.

"The extremes of age are always going to be at much higher risk," said Dr. Torrey Laack, an emergency physician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. "And there are other conditions as well. People who are overweight or not in as good of a condition are going to be a little bit more susceptible. People that push themselves in the heat a little bit more. Athletes have to be careful, even if they’re otherwise healthy, they might not be acclimated. Especially here when we have these extremes where we’re not very hot and then we have these very hot days, they may not be prepared for it." 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible and limit direct exposure to sunlight to avoid heat stroke, which can cause damage to internal organs, including the brain.

Heat exhaustion, which is less serious than heat stroke is a common reaction to severe heat. It can include symptoms such as dizziness, headache and fainting. If your home doesn’t have air-conditioning you can escape the heat at the library, retail stores, movie theatres, and even ice rinks. 

Rochester Public Transit is also offering free rides on Friday and Saturday. Just tell the bus driver you’re taking the free offer to get to a cool place.

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