Be wary of the hot weather

Published 12:11 am Monday, July 20, 2015

NATCHEZ — With temperatures averaging in the high 90s and above, it’s important to be vigilant about protecting yourself from the heat.

At the Natchez Senior Citizen Center, Carla Monroe, program coordinator, is making sure to keep the center’s clients cool.

“We’re staying consistent in making sure they have plenty to drink, the atmosphere is comfortable for them and making sure they are enjoying the activities,” Monroe said.

Email newsletter signup

Monroe said the staff and clients at the center are educated about possible health situations. The center also has a nurse on staff, who monitors clients once a week.

“You can become weaker as you grow older,” Monroe said.

Merit Health Natchez’s emergency room medical director Dr. Keyna Whitney said people 70 years old and up are especially vulnerable to classic non-exertional heat strokes.

Other people, such as young athletes and construction workers, can be vulnerable to exertional heat strokes.

Whitney wrote in an email the signs of heat stroke are elevated body temperature, elevated heart rate, increased rate of breathing, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, flushed skin and a low blood pressure.

“We have had a significant number of patients in the ER presenting with heat-related sicknesses,” Whitney wrote. “These are largely due to the extreme temperatures, heat index and high humidity we have been experiencing these past few weeks.”

According to Whitney, sometimes patients can also have neurological symptoms such as agitation, aggressive behavior, seizures, coma, slurred speech, loss of control of bodily movements and delirium.

Whitney recommends avoiding dark-colored clothing, layered clothing and being in a hot car. For people who have to work outside, she recommends taking frequent breaks and, of course, staying hydrated.

“Drink plenty of fluids and sports drinks which provide electrolytes you lose when sweating,” Whitney wrote. “If your urine is a dark red, brown or dark yellow you are not replacing your fluid loss adequately.”

And, for those staying inside, be sure to turn on the air conditioning.