FAIRMONT, W.Va. – As the fourth of July is quickly approaching, many people will be looking to take advantage of the summer weather, but with hot temperatures also comes the risk of over exertion and other health risks.
“Typically when we think about heat related illnesses or emergencies, they usually affect those 65 and older because the body lacks the ability to regulate the body itself.” said Lloyd White, director of the Marion County Health Department.
However, with high temperatures affecting all ages, White told 12 News instead of most people waiting until they are thirsty to drink water, the best way to stay safe in the heat is by being proactive.
“One of the main things is don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Then when you drink, drink things that are hydrating you, rather than dehydrating you. Stay away from caffeinated drinks and etc, but also what is equally important is check on your neighbors and loved ones, make sure they are okay and if you can, stay in where it is air conditioned,” said White.
With many families taking vacations throughout the summer months, White says he doesn’t expect everyone to stay inside. That’s why it’s important to follow outdoor guidelines for health.
“When we think about going outside it’s key to take multiple breaks and wear light clothing and light color clothing so it doesn’t hold any heat and then drink plenty of liquids,” White said.
White confirmed that with many warning signs of potential overheating like sweating, confusion, dizziness and becoming light-headed – it is best to be safe before the symptoms become worse.
“What we are really concerned about and it’s a true emergency, is heat stroke. That is where your body is just completely not regulating itself at all. That is usually characterized by red colored skin, lack of perspiration, dizziness, slow speech, perhaps stroke. Those are true emergencies, so we need to cool the body as quickly as possible by whatever means possible to get the temperature back down,” White explained.