Tips for staying safe in the brutal Mid-South heat

·2 min read

If you’ve stepped outside over the past few days, you know just unbearably hot it is.

With the heat index reaching the triple digits in the Mid-South, being outside for only a few minutes can be extremely dangerous.

RELATED: Memphis sees 100-degree day for the first time in 2 years as dangerous heatwave continues

That’s why doctors are putting out a warning and offering tips to help you stay cool.

“You really need to be drinking a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes that you’re out there in this heat,” Dr. Kimberly Brown, an emergency physician at St. Francis Bartlett Hospital, said.

Since the heatwave has hit the Mid-South, Dr. Brown said she’s seen an uptick in people coming into the emergency room with heat exhaustion and heat stroke symptoms.

“Heat stroke can take a couple of days and up to a week to recover from. So, a lot of times, we admit these patients to the ICU to ensure their body temperatures are going to cool down appropriately,” she said.

If you’re working outside or going to be out in the heat of the day, Dr. Brown said it’s important to remember to take breaks and cool off every 10 to 15 minutes.

While relaxing at the pool is a great way to cool off, doctors say you need to be careful while out in the extreme heat.

“The heat is no joke right now. It can be deadly and unfortunately is deadly at times,” Dr. Dale Criner, Methodist Hospital Emergency Department Medical Director, said.

Dr. Criner said it doesn’t take long for symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke to set in.

“It starts off with just feeling kind of weak, and then throughout the continuum of the illness, you start to get muscle cramps, and you can get that lightheadedness, and you can get nauseated, and ultimately you could have seizures,” he said.

Dr. Criner said the humidity makes things even more dangerous.

“You sweat a little bit more, and every time you’re sweating, you’re losing fluids, and that’s where dehydration comes from,” he said.

Dr. Criner said the elderly and children are most at risk when out in the heat because their bodies can’t regulate temperature as well as adults can.

That’s why parents like Emily Howard say they limit their fun in the sun.

“Just make sure they get lots of water and coconut water for hydration,” the mother of two said. “Just kind of staying inside in the shade, and we will just kind of go in and out.”

Doctors say another tip for staying cool is to wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.

With these extreme temperatures, they say it is important to check your car’s backseat and never leave children or pets back there while running errands.

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