Heat can kill, important to stay cool

By Matt Porter

July 15, 2013 Updated Jul 17, 2013 at 10:10 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) More people die from extreme heat than tornadoes, hurricanes and blizzards.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 650 people die on average from heat exhaustion or other heat-related illnesses each year in the United States.

When weather projections this week showed temperatures at or beyond 90 degrees all week, there were no second thoughts for those diving in the Vestal Town Pool.

Ten-year-old Aidan Weston gave the perfect reason for being in the water.

"Because it's hot out," Weston said, "And you can get cooled off in the pool when you go in it."

Parents brought the kids, or perhaps the kids brought the parents, according to Marie Brunetti.

"It's a super hot day," Brunetti said, "So this is where the kids want to be so we came over."

Lifeguard Austin Case said the higher temperatures rise, the more people end up in the water.

"We'll have people coming in here at 12 or 11:30 waiting for us to open the pool," Case said. "At 8 p.m. there will be people swimming in the pool. They love it here."

For best friends Ashlyn Fletcher and Natalie Godoy, keeping cool in the pool was easy.

"You can get wet and cool off," Godoy said.

"It's refreshing," Fletcher said.

Most pools across Broome County are open until dusk each evening.

Tips to stay cool
Nurse Marita Florini, a primary care provider, said she sees heat exhaustion often in the elderly, pregnant women, athletes and young children.

Florini said people need to stay hydrated, but avoid over hydrating, especially with sports or energy drinks.

"Get fluids, get maybe a little bit of juice with those fluids, maybe a little Gatorade, a small amount," Florini said. "Be cautious, our elderly folks should not be slamming down Gatorade. That's not good for them."

The sugar in sport drinks can actually cause dehydration in larger amounts. Caffeine and alcohol will also increase dehydration.

Florini said people also should pay attention to the medication they take, as some can also increase dehydration.

She said it only takes about 20 minutes in extreme heat to start to feel the effects of heat exhaustion.

Symptoms can include cramps, muscle exhaustion and a lack of sweat.

"Stay in a cool spot, get ice or a cool compress on you, and get the fluids," Florini said. "If you're not bringing your core temperature down and it's 104, you should get to the (emergency room)."

People should avoid being out between noon and 3 p.m. when the heat can be the strongest.