Hyperthermia a dangerous threat on hot days

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- When the temperature rises, so does your chance of developing hyperthermia, which may lead to heat stroke. So how you can protect yourself?

They say mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun, but here on the Suncoast we see golfers, tennis players and people working in temperatures that are beyond safe. And now, the National Institutes of Health warns of the dangers of hyperthermia caused by excessive heat especially for seniors.

70-year-old golf enthusiast Donald Gordon says he knows what it’s like to drive some balls in the Sarasota sun. “You’re literally baking; you’re literally in an oven at about 200 hundred degrees…it’s slow heat.”

He's seen a few succumb to the sun. It can sneak up on you, he says. “I saw people stumbling around at one o’clock, two o’clock in the afternoon in 95 degree temperature with high humidities that were totally unaware of what it’s like here in Florida, playing in this hot weather.”

Golf pro Rick Husted of Gulf Gate Golf Course offers advice on optimal hours to hone your golf skills and keep you out of the E.R. “Seven o’clock ‘til 12 would be the best time to play.”

And dress for health success. “Well, you can wear light clothing.”

Whether you are working or playing. “One of the things that you can do to protect yourself if you're out there in the middle of the day and the heat performing an activity: get a bottle of water. It's really going to help keep you hydrated.”

There are other things you can do to lower your body temperature. “We have chill towels now, wet chill towels.”

Tennis director of Bath and Racquet Fitness Club Holly Moore says the cold towels are popular with the overheated. “Put the towel around your neck, your pressure points, your wrists and your head and things to bring the temperature down.”

But the unsuspecting can quickly fall prey to hyperthermia, or even heat stroke, says Gordon. “The heat beats on you to such an extent that your body and clothing absorb this heat and raises and elevates your body temperature to like twenty degrees above what it should be.”

And an easy rhyme to remind those concerned with overheated golf carts. “You just find a tree, that's close to the tee, you can always park, under a tree.”

Signs the heat may be getting to you may include dizziness, weakness, and confusion. And your skin may turn red. This can lead to hyperthermia, including heatstroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. If you think you have any of these you should seek medical attention.