Officials Warn of Signs of Heat Distress; Concerns for Elderly

JULY 20, 2006 - Posted at 7:42 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - State health officials say Arkansans should be on the alert for signs of heat exhaustion or, worse, heat stroke.

Signs of heat exhaustion include complaints of weakness and of feeling faint, plus possible dizziness, nausea, headache and confusion.  Those with symptoms should be moved to a cooler place and cooled down with fluid and wet cloths.

Heat stroke is more serious.  With heat stroke, sweating stops and the body temperature can rise so high that the nervous system can be damaged permanently.

Signs of a heat stroke are a sudden high fever, dry skin, delerium, convulsions and seizures, and emergency help should be sought.

Meanwhile, another scorcher is in the offing today after record temperatures were set in some Arkansas cities yesterday.  K8 forecaster Chris Castleman predicts a high of 101 degrees in the Jonesboro area today, with heat index factors in the 105 degree range.  Monticello reached a high of 109 degrees yesterday, while temperatures of 100 or above were also recorded in Little Rock and Fort Smith.

The oppresive heat forced rolling blackouts in some parts of central Arkansas, and with at least two deaths in Arkansas attributed to the heat, several agencies urged residents, especially the elderly, to stay cool in any way possible.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)