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Salvation Army distributes fans during heat wave

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Meteorologists say it's been one of Atlanta's hottest weekends on record.

Triple-digit temperatures pose a health risk to many, namely senior citizens.

"Our seniors and especially those that don't have shelter are at extreme risk," said Metro Area Commander Maj. Todd Hawks. "We are deploying several of our canteens to go into the community to provide water and we are opening our doors to those that want a cool place to come in from out of the sun and enjoy a cold glass of water."

On Friday, the Salvation Army distributed water and 500 free electric fans to those in need in Gwinnett County.

"Everybody -- young, old, poor and homeless -- deserves a cold glass of water," Hawks said.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for most of North Georgia on Friday afternoon as local temperatures reached 105 degrees, inching toward all-time heat records for this time of year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, elderly people, those 65 and older, are more prone to heat stress than younger people.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature, states a news release by the CDC.

Signs and symptoms of heat stroke may vary, but include many of the following:

-- Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)

-- Rapid, strong pulse

-- Throbbing headache

-- Dizziness

-- Nausea

-- Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may include the following:

-- Heavy sweating

-- Paleness

-- Muscle Cramps

-- Tiredness

-- Weakness

-- Dizziness

-- Headache

-- Nausea or vomiting

-- Fainting

-- Skin: may be cool and moist

-- Pulse rate: fast and weak

-- Breathing: fast and shallow

Follow these prevention tips to protect yourself from heat-related stress:

-- Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.)

-- Rest-- Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.

-- If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment. (If you don't have air conditioning, consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping mall or public library to cool off.)

-- Wear lightweight clothing.

-- If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.

-- Do not engage in strenuous activities.

Source: Centers for Disease Control