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Doctors Warn Against Record Race Day Heat

Last updated on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - This year’s Indianapolis 500 is going to be a hot event - literally.

Sunday is expected to be the hottest Race Day in 75 years at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Weather experts are calling for scorching temps and lots of humidity, which could be a dangerous combination for race fans if certain precautions aren't taken.

IMS Medical Director Dr. Geoff Billows said that his staff is preparing to treat race fans who succumb to the heat, RTV6's Stacia Matthews reported.

"Decades and decades ago, we didn't have air-conditioning. We didn't have it in our homes. We didn't have it in our cars and people were just more acclimated to the heat and working in the heat," Billows said. "The (hotter it gets), your heart rate can get rapid, blood pressure can drop, you can become very confused and disoriented and have a heat stroke, which is a life- threatening condition."

IMS officials said that record heat and humidity, mixed with alcoholic beverages, could cause some fans to become lightheaded, excessively thirsty and dizzy.

In addition to the IMS medical center, there are 16 first-aid stations at the track. On Race Day, doctors said the IMS Emergency Room will be the busiest medical department in the state

"We'll have portable misting stations throughout the grounds, probably a total of 60 to 70 misting stations around the facility," said IMS Spokesman Doug Boles.

Doctors said that staying hydrated before Race Day and taking breaks in the shade is key to having a fun, safe time at the track.

Medical experts also advised fans to drink a bottle of water for every alcoholic drink or soft drink in order to keep the body properly hydrated.

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