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How to stay safe in the summer heat

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 7:56 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) -As temperatures continue to rise throughout the Pine Belt, there are certain signs you need to look out for to prevent heat illness.

While many people spend their time outdoors during summer, Dr. Nathan Darby, from Sports medicine at Hattiesburg Clinic, says there are signs such as mild headaches, heavy sweating and mild fatigue that can indicate you’ve been outside for too long.

“Other more severe symptoms, severe headache, abdominal cramps, nausea (and) vomiting, they’ll go from heavy sweating to almost stopping sweating,” said Darby. “This is always a big danger sign, a big warning sign that you’ve gone way too far at that point and need an immediate cooling and relocation to a cooler environment.”

Dr. Darby says any age group can experience heat illness symptoms, so it is crucial to get your body used to the heat, before spending long periods outdoors.

“Another big factor is just being used to the heat,” said Darby. “In our athletes, for example, we generally recommended a 10-to-14-day period of gradually getting used to the heat.”

“We always see bad situations when you have a kid who stays inside in the AC all summer and then suddenly goes to the first hard day of practice with full equipment and everything that can be dangerous.”

It is also recommended to start drinking 16-20 ounces of water before you even step outside.

“In general, they say let thirst be your guide,” said Darby. “If you’re just the least bit thirsty, you’re already behind, and you should be drinking more. If you wait until your outside and your hot and sweating to start drinking your water or Gatorade, it’s really too late, and it’s hard to keep up because we sweat so much here where it’s so humid.”

Darby says it is important to limit caffeine intake during hot weather because it can also speed up the dehydration process.

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