Valley doctor warns of signs of heat-related illness

Six people have died in the Arizona mountains since last weekend and many of the deaths were heat-related.

- Six people have died in the Arizona mountains since last weekend and many of the deaths were heat-related.

"We're not used to this heat exactly, so I was just noticing that I was, you know, sweating a lot more than usual," Samantha Cika said.

What members of the Cika family from Cleveland also notices while hiking Piestewa Peak is they may have been experiencing the beginning stages of a heat illness.

"You get, you start sweating, you get kind of like a nauseous feeling," John Cika said. "The first thing that happens is generally heat cramps that commonly in calf, the thigh, sometimes in the abdomen. It's due to a salt imbalance in the muscles."

One valley doctor says there are three stages to heat-related illnesses and each provides clues as to what is wrong.

Resting, hydrating and getting out of the heat are all the right moves at that point, according to Dr. Donald Bucklin and if you don't stop, things can progress quickly.

"Stage two heat exhaustion; that's when you're a wet, sweaty mess," he said. "The trouble is you get weak and you get nauseated, so you really don't feel like drinking. That's what you really need at that point. Rest and hydration."

Dr. Bucklin says step three is a complete failure of your cooling system.

"No sweating, dry, it's a medical emergency," he said.  "You can cook your brain and die at that point. Call 9-1-1, no joke, and call them instantly."

While they enjoyed themselves and the views, they knew their limits, which is what's the most important thing.

"I actually didn't go to the top," John Cika said. "I got to the point where I thought things are getting a little rough. I sat and waited."

The bottom line is doctors say listen to your body.


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