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Know the signs of heat illness and take steps to prevent dehydration

Dizziness, nausea, headaches and muscle cramps are all signs of heat illness.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Temperatures are soaring around the Spokane area and doctors are warning people to look out for signs of heat illness because it can happen quickly.

Dizziness, nausea, headaches and muscle cramps are all signs of heat illness. Doctors say if you experience any of those symptoms, try to cool down your body by taking a cold shower, removing tight clothing, or slowly drinking a cold beverage.

If the symptoms don't go away or get worse, contact a doctor or medical professional.

Doctors also advise people to drink lots of water in the days leading up to high temperatures to avoid dehydration. If you're a parent, doctors say make extra sure you're kids are getting enough water, too.

"Dehydration can happen quickly, even if you're playing in a pool," said Dr. Don Shifrin, a pediatrician with the UW School of Medicine. "Small bodies have a lot of water, and they have very small reserves, so they're quicker to dehydrate, and you can't use thirst as a mechanism, it's not as acute. So kids will lose water through sweat; they'll also lose water through increased breathing. So mild dehydration you'll see flush skin, they'll have dry lips and tongue, and the young kids will get cranky and irritable, where the older ones may get a little dizzy or headache."

Doctors also encourage people to check in now with those who are less tolerant of heat that may need help this weekend, such as your elderly neighbors.

RELATED: Tips to protect your pets from the heat

An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect until Thursday at 9 p.m. for Spokane and surrounding areas. The National Weather Service says the unprecedented heat will threaten the health of Inland Northwest residents while also making the region increasingly vulnerable to wildfires.  

During a press conference Wednesday, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) shared a few tips for staying safe during hot weather events:

  • Stay indoors and in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible unless you're sure your body has a high tolerance for heat.
  • Drink plenty of fluids but avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar.
  • Eat more frequently but make sure meals are balanced and light.
  • Never leave any person or pet in a parked vehicle.
  • Plan strenuous outdoor activities for early or late in the day when temperatures are cooler; then gradually build up tolerance for warmer conditions.
  • At first signs of heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps), move to a cooler location, rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better.

Click here for more hot weather safety tips from the DOH.