HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Any given day this time of year, temperatures are in the mid-to-high 90s in the Pine Belt. For people who spend a lot of time outside, that can be dangerous, according to Forrest General Hospital's Emergency Department Medical Director.
"The main thing we see here in the emergency department is heat exhaustion," Dr. John Nelson said.
Nelson said inadequate fluid intake and too much sweating can lead to heat exhaustion, which can affect people who work in the heat or those who aren't used to being exposed to the high temperatures.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion are dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Fainting can also be a symptom, which Nelson said can advance into a heat stroke.
"Heat stroke is where your temperature goes up and can reach levels of 103 to 107, and you can get brain and organ damage at that point," Nelson said.
Nelson said FGH sees an increase in patients for heat stroke and exhaustion this time of year, when the temperature, heat index and humidity are all on the rise.
If you feel that you are experiencing either of these illnesses, Nelson said to remove yourself from the heat, get in a cool place and drink more liquids.
Nelson has three tips for people to follow in the summer, especially those exposed to prolonged heat:
- Try to avoid working outside between noon and 4 p.m., which he said are the hottest times of the day.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Drink a lot of liquids, whether it be water or sports drinks to restore electrolytes.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency posted a warning Thursday of heat dangers in the state, reminding people to also check on the elderly and disabled during the hottest months.
MEMA's post also reminded folks to "beat the heat, check the backseat," to prevent children and pets from being unattended in a vehicle.
"If you see a child in an unattended vehicle, dial 9-1-1 immediately," MEMA's post stated.