heat wave

A hot holiday weekend in San Diego is here. Know the signs of heat exhaustion

Dr. Joseph Aleshaki of Sharp Rees-Stealy says symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, dizziness and light-headedness

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We're in the thick of summer and the middle of a holiday weekend, which means many people will be spending time outside to enjoy the sunshine. While an excessive heat warning is in effect for areas east of the San Diego coastline, it's important to be mindful of how the heat affects the body.

Your summer essentials might include the following: sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, rash guards and lots of water. It's what Allison Vest brought to Santee Lakes Friday for her and her family.

"If we can find a spot in the shade, that’s where we’ll be," Vest said.

It's a smart move to stay cool and out of the sun during some of the hottest days of summer so far. For those who are also searching for that shady spot by the lake, it's important to think about other ways to keep you and your family safe during this heat wave.

"Anything that is going to be in direct sun, we’re doing it earlier or later," Vest said.

That's one way to avoid the onset of heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is basically what happens when our body’s abilities to respond to heat and regulate our core body temperature, our physiological responses essentially just get overwhelmed," Dr. Joseph Aleshaki of Sharp Rees-Stealy said.

He says symptoms of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, dizziness and light-headedness. If you or someone you know experiences these, it's important to act quickly.

"Ideally, you want to move into a really nice shaded area. If they’re really drenched in sweat, you want to remove as much clothing as you can within reason because clothing that is drenched in sweat doesn’t’ allow us to evaporate that sweat off as easily and cool our own bodies down," Aleshaki said.

Those steps should be taken in addition to hydrating and lying down with the feet elevated.

"The fear is that if you’re body’s responses to heat get overwhelmed, you can actually have something called heat stroke," Aleshaki said.

In the event of a heat stroke, 911 needs to be called.

"You're feeling really disoriented. You’re not sure where you are. You’re feeling really confused. You might be going through a coma or a seizure. That’s a medical emergency,” Aleshaki said

Meantime, if someone experiences heat stroke, they need to be moved to a shaded area and begin rapid cooling within 30 minutes. That means submerging in ice water, taking a cold shower or using cold wet towels to lower the body's temperature.

"Just making sure you’re well aware, and knowing your limitations is super important," Aleshaki said.

For those who will be out in the sun over the holiday weekend, they should consider taking breaks in the shade. It's one step of several to consider before spending time outside over the next few days. NBC 7 meteorologist Brooke Martell has more tips.

Being aware of what you can handle in the heat is the first step in protecting yourself. It's a step Allison and her family are following.

"We just tell him, 'When you need water, need a break, come find us. We’ll be in the shade. Take a drink, cool off.'"

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