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Hot weather brings increased threat of heat-related injuries

The sign at Elkdale Baptist Church on Highland Avenue shows just how hot the weather got Friday in the Selma area. (Sarah Robinson | Times-Journal)

The sign at Elkdale Baptist Church on Highland Avenue shows just how hot the weather got Friday in the Selma area. (Sarah Robinson | Times-Journal)

Those battling through the more than 100-degree temperatures Friday might be relieved to learn the temperatures in the Dallas County area are going to fall in the coming days.

But with weekend highs in the upper 90s in the forecast, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Westland, for Selma and its surrounding areas, the possibility of heat illnesses is still present.

Heat-related illnesses can range from minor heat cramps to life-threatening heat stroke, according to the National Weather Service.

“During extremely, hot and humid weather, the body’s ability to cool itself is affected,” the service warns. “When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or swearing, body temperature rises and heat-related illnesses may develop.”

According to the weather service’s heat index — which determines when the risk for heat illness are higher than normal — temperatures from 90 to 104 degrees can lead to heat cramps and heat exhaustion.

A higher percentage of humidity can increase your body’s natural ability to stay cool.

“When the outdoor humidity is greater than 75 percent, losing body heat by sweating is not as effective, so other measures to keep cool are needed,” wrote the National Weather Service.

Westland offered some preventive measures for those attempting to beat the heat this summer.

“If you have to be outside, you’re going to be sweating a lot, so stay hydrated. Keep drinking water,” he said.