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Cautions raised with temperatures
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Summer doesn't officially begin until Monday, but thermometers across Rockdale County have already started to reach uncomfortable heights.

Temperatures reached the upper 90's last weekend and at 3 p.m. on Tuesday the temperature was 95 degrees with a heat index of 102. The national weather service average high temperature for June 15 is eight degrees lower at 87 degrees.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, from 1979-2003 there were 8,015 deaths in the United States due to excessive heat exposure. More people died from extreme heat than other natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes and floods combined.

However, there are several steps that can be taken to prevent such a tragedy while Rockdale becomes sweltering in these high temperatures.

"The best practice is to limit outdoor work," said Mike Lee, Deputy Chief for the Rockdale County Fire Division. "If you must be outdoors take frequent breaks, drink non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages. Take advantage of available shade."

Also when traveling, don't leave infants, children and pets in a parked car. The CDC says, even with the windows cracked, interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes of being left in a vehicle.

Heat Stress Disorders come in three forms: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

According to an email from Lee, heat cramps "can result if heavy sweating drains a person of salt. Cramps may occur suddenly - at work or after hours." Victims of heat cramps should be moved to a cooler area and cooled down.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, cool moist skin, a body temperature above 100.4 degrees, weak pulse and normal or low blood pressure.

"Victims may be tired, weak, clumsy, upset or confused. They are usually very thirsty, panting and may have blurred vision," Lee's email said.

Again it is best to move the victim to a cooler area.

The most immediately severe of the heat stress disorders is heat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when all the water and salt available for sweating has been used.

"Heat stroke can kill," Lee said. "Take anyone in this condition to the hospital immediately."

Also, due to the high heat it is not uncommon for fires to occur during summer weather conditions. Rockdale County remains under a burn ban from May 1st until Oct. 1, as it does each year due to air quality.