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Beat the heat: How to survive when it feels like 100-plus

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Faith Fire Department firefighter Chip Wiles, standing, joins Cameron Peeler after turning over firefighting operations to a fresh crew. Several fire departments responded to a structure fire on Pine Ridge Road on Thursday. Fire departments take extra precautions to protect firefighters from heat and exertion with frequent breaks, medical monitoring and increased fluid intake.

Faith Fire Department firefighter Chip Wiles, standing, joins Cameron Peeler after turning over firefighting operations to a fresh crew. Several fire departments responded to a structure fire on Pine Ridge Road on Thursday. Fire departments take extra precautions to protect firefighters from heat and exertion with frequent breaks, medical monitoring and increased fluid intake.

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — With temperatures near 100 degrees expected, staying hydrated will be key this weekend.

Temperatures are expected to reach 95 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. With humidity, however, it will feel more like 100 degrees or greater, the National Weather Service projects.

Heat values in the Piedmont region, including Rowan, could reach 105 degrees over the sunny weekend.

To beat the heat, the city’s Parks and Recreation department set up misters at Salisbury Community Park so fans attending the Junior Little League Regionals could cool off. Drinking water was also available.

And fire departments are protecting crews battling blazes in this heat by giving them frequent breaks, medical monitoring and plenty of fluids.

Rowan County EMS Chief Lennie Cooper and Salisbury physician Dr. Susan Egbe-Tanyi offered some tips on how to avoid heat-related issues.

Egbe-Tanyi said heat exhaustion is more likely to occur during strenuous activity. She said treatment involves cooling the body down and replacing lost fluids.

To recover from heat exhaustion, use fans, cold cloths or even a cold bath, she said. Fluids are best replaced with a sports drink, water with 2 teaspoons of salt added for every 8 ounces, or an electrolyte solution, she said.

“Heat exhaustion can progress to a serious condition called heat stroke, so it should be treated right away,” she said in an email.

Egbe-Tanyi added that heat stroke is an extreme medical emergency. Symptoms can include: confusion, fainting, a body temperature of 104 degrees or higher, hot and dry skin, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, quick and shallow breathing and loss of balance. She said people should call 911 right away in an instance of heat stroke.

To prevent heat-related health problems, Cooper recommends people drink water. He said alcoholic drinks, soda and energy drinks won’t help people stay hydrated. Generally, people should drink eight glasses of water per day, he said.

Another suggestion mentioned by Cooper includes staying in a place where air is circulating and seeking shade if possible. People can also take their shade with them by using an umbrella, he said.

Using an umbrella make look strange during sunny weather, but he said it’s useful to take a break from bright sun.

“You’re carrying your shade with you,” he said.

Although temperatures could reach the high 90s this weekend, things aren’t projected to cool off much into next week. High temperatures are expected to remain in the 90s.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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