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How to prevent heat-related illness and high energy bills during extreme heat

Posted at 5:43 PM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 21:25:13-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning through at least 9 p.m. on Saturday night and that means dangerous temperatures. There are several things you need to look out for when it comes to heat-related illness.

"Stay in the shade," said Doctor Jeffrey Davidson of Valley Health System. "Drink plenty of fluids. Try to stay in areas where there's some air conditioning or at least good air movement."

Dr. Davidson said the three main heat-related illnesses to watch out for this week are heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

"Many people start to feel heat exhaustion very quickly," said Dr. Davidson. "They start to develop cramps, particularly in their lower extremities. They get extremes of thirst if they just can't quench their thirst. They stop sweating sometimes, initially, they're sweating a lot, they begin to stop sweating - that's always of grave concern."

Fatigue, headaches and nausea are all signs of heat-related illness. Dr. Davidson said the best way to stay hydrated is to drink a combination of water and electrolyte solutions throughout the day. He said you should be aware of how common medications can impact hydration and make you more prone to heat-related illness.

"One medicine that's particularly interesting that can cause heat exhaustion are antihistamines like Benedryl. Some of these medications prevent you from sweating well," he said.

When the heat hits, it's not only tough on our bodies but it can be tough on our wallets too. To help prevent a drastic spike in that electric bill, NV Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees and not touching it.

"When you don't put the temperature up and down a lot, you create that steady, reliable flow of energy that's coming into the home, the AC stays at a constant number and it's really a great way to monitor your energy use," said Cynthia Messina, project manager for shift outreach at NV Energy.

She recommended customers do what they can to control their own energy use - closing the blinds during the day, using appliances in the evening, changing air filters, and opting for a smart thermostat. Messina said you can better understand your energy use-- by doing an online assessment.

"You can take that assessment and it will tell you what appliances are using the energy and it will give you personalized tips that you can implement in your home," she said.

It may seem obvious but the best way to stay safe in this heat is to try to avoid it as much as possible. Stay in air-conditioned environments and pay attention to what your body is telling you.