Heat advisory: Health signs, symptoms to watch for

Health experts say hydrating early, avoiding caffeine and checking on those who are vulnerable are just a few ways to stay safe in extreme heat.

It could take at least a couple of weeks for people – and pets – to get re-acclimated to the high temperatures, an Ascension Wisconsin doctor said. 

Many pets jump at every opportunity to get outside, but when it gets as hot as it was Tuesday, the highest temperatures seen in nearly a decade, walks might just have to wait.

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"I think we don't always appreciate that, you know, pets will overdo it at times, and when you are out in these types of conditions, make sure they're not exerting themselves to the point of exhaustion," said Dr. Nick Tomaro.

Tomaro directs emergency preparedness for the Milwaukee Health Department. He said the same principle applies for people.

"We haven't had to think about extreme heat for quite a while," he said.

From outdoor exercise to cookouts in the park, Wisconsinites were quick to welcome the arrival of the summer heat. That's why health experts are warning the public of the dangers that come with extreme heat.

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"We actually don't sense thirst until we are already slightly dehydrated," said Dr. Andrew Makowski.

Makowski teaches residents on that topic at Ascension Wisconsin. He advises pre-hydrating if you plan to exercise. If you begin to feel confused, dizzy or off-balance, you should get to an emergency room.

"The best way to remove heat from the body is to just spray yourself with some cool water and sit in front of a fan," he said.

Symptoms of heat-related illness to watch for include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Vomiting

A heat health advisory remains in effect for southeastern Wisconsin until 8 p.m. Wednesday night, June 15.