High July 4th temperatures could prove dangerous

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – You've heard doctors say it time and time again.  If you're going to be out in the heat for a long time, you need to drink plenty of water.  Here's what you may not know, if you're planning a full day of July 4th fun Sunday, you should have already started hydrating.

Chesterfield mom Kim Allen said what many people are thinking when she explained, "I can't believe it.  It's really hard to believe how hot it's going to be.  I expect this weather in Florida maybe, but not this early in Richmond.  It feels like August."

With two sons under the age of three, the list of concerns rises as quickly as the mercury.

"I worry about them overheating," she said.  "My son goes out in the sun and he's overheating in about five minutes.  His face is red."

Patient First Dr. Scott Greenfield said that's just one of many symptoms showing it may be time for a break from the sun.

"Headache, feeling lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, those are the top things I'd be looking out for," he explained.

So, if you're going to cool off at the pool, satisfy your cravings at a holiday barbeque, or be dazzled at a fireworks display, you need to plan ahead.

Wearing lightweight and light colored clothing, along with a wide brimmed hat to shield yourself from the sun can help keep your body temperature down.  Most emergency responders though, don't have this luxury.

Henrico Fire Chief Rocky Hudson noted firefighters' heavy gear makes them just as vulnerable as the public when it comes to heat.

"With that comes a very heavy price to pay," he said.  "We have to really pay attention to the crews and what activity we're asking them to do and the duration we're asking them to do it.  The environment can be pretty hot.  It can be pretty hostile to the human being."

The best piece of advice is one the Allens will be following on the Fourth.

"I really just try to stay out of the heat as much as possible, stay indoors," said Kim Allen.

Doctors said if someone can't stop vomiting to the point where they can't keep down fluids; it may be time to seek medical attention.  If you don't, you could suffer from heat stroke, which could lead to devastating consequences.

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