Summer temps mean heat dangers

The oppressive heat that rolls over the city each summer is as tangible as the heat waves rising up from the concrete.

"The big influence during the summer months is the moisture that comes in off the Gulf of Mexico," explained WAFB Chief Meteorologist Jay Grymes.

While higher temperatures are likely to come as the summer progresses, medical personnel will see an increase in heat-related emergencies at the start of summer when residents are not as acclimated. Heat hits the old, the young and the furry especially hard.

"It can be as simple as some muscle cramps, usually in the legs or the abdomen area. That can progress to having paler, cool skin and eventually lead to where you eventually stop sweating and that would be most serious case which would be a heat stroke," explained Nick McDonner with EMS.

"Dogs actually can't sweat. The only way for them to dissipate heat or cool off is through panting. So, putting them in the sun or having them outside, if they get overheated you need to make sure there is adequate water source and shade," advised veterinarian Dr. Andrea Anderson.

The body's first defense against heat is sweat.  As sweat evaporates, it takes the heat in our skin with it.

"Unfortunately down here, the air is so humid that the evaporation doesn't occur very effectively," said Grymes.  "What happens is you build up that sweat on your skin and that actually becomes an insulating layer. So instead of cooling you off, perspiring down here tends to heat you up even more."

That's why staying cool in the shade and hydrated with water are especially important in our area.

McDonner also warned about the dangers the lie inside hot cars.  According to EMS, the temperature in a car can rise 20 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

It can only take a few minutes for your body to overheat, especially if you are not accustomed to the high temps.  If you experience muscle cramps, dizziness or you stop sweating get medical help immediately.

Also, avoid drinks with high sugar, caffeine or alcohol which can actually lead to dehydration.

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