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Summer’s coming and along with fun in the sun comes rising temperatures and, in some places, suffocating humidity, making it difficult for people to breathe indoors and out.

Dr. Rani Whitfield, a physician based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said in a television interview on “Louisiana: The State We’re In“, that “heat-related illnesses and injuries kill more people than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods together.”

Children under 4, seniors over 65, people without access to air conditioning and those who are on medication – particularly diuretics – are particularly vulnerable. And even those having fun in the sun, drinking alcohol and even sugar-sweetened non-alcoholic drinks, all of which are diuretics, can lead to dehydration.

It is critical that people remember to drink plenty of water and electrolyte replacement drinks (i.e. Gatorade), said Whitfield, aka The Hip-Hop Doctor, who may be best known best known for his appearances on BET’s 106 & Park series and iVillage.

Whitfield has been on a mission to improve social conditions and health care services for African Americans and is the founder of the “Hip-Hop Medical Moment,” a one-minute audio series on pertinent medical topics.

The most serious heat-related illnesses are heat stroke, heat exhaustion, cramping and edema (swelling). Key symptoms include profuse sweating, vomiting and nausea. In some instances, people don’t sweat, but their core body temperature is dangerously high (104 degrees).

Put Heat Stroke on Ice  was originally published on

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