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Heat wave to hit this weekend
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MONROE - The dog days of August will be here this weekend.

The National Weather Service has forecast a heat index from 95 degrees to 99 degrees Saturday and temperatures "will remain quite warm Saturday night."

Temperatures Friday and Saturday are expected to be about 90 degrees.

The American Red Cross, www.redcross.rog, cautions people to be careful when they're outside during extreme heat.

Normally, the Web site says, the body has ways of keeping itself cool by letting heat escape through the skin and by sweating.

"If the body does not cool properly or does not cool enough, the victim may suffer heat-related illness. Anyone can be susceptible although the very young and very old are at greater risk."

The Red Cross recommends the following to prevent heat-related illness:

• Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight clothing and light-colored clothing.

• Drink water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

• Eat small amounts and eat more often.

• Slow down, avoid strenuous activity.

• Stay indoors when possible.

• Take regular breaks.

If outside, it's important to know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist pale skin, headaches, dizziness, nausea and the skin may or may not feel hot.

Signs of heat stroke include vomiting, decreased alertness or a complete loss of consciousness, high body temperature, rapid, weak pulse and rapid, shallow breathing.

Generally, if someone has either heat exhaustion or heat stroke, it's best to cool their body, give them fluids and minimize shock.

Heat exhaustion victims should be moved to a cool place and given water every 15 minutes.

People who suffer heat stroke need help immediately. The following steps should be taken, according to the American Red Cross:

• Call 9-1-1.

• Move the person to a cooler place.

• Quickly cool the body by wrapping wet sheets around it and fanning it. If ice packs are available, put them on the victim's wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck.

• Keep the person lying down.