Tips for staying safe in the summer heat - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tips for staying safe in the summer heat

(WMC-TV) – In this extreme heat, staying safe is a number one priority. Staying cool and being smart are key to surviving the hot temperatures.

Hezekiah Robinson, 82, said he grew up in the south surviving the sweltering heat.

"Ah yes, I was born and raised in it. Picking cotton and chopping cotton," he said.

Now retired, Robinson spends his days on his front porch, sipping a cold drink, and soaking in the sun, until the recent heat wave.

"And then ain't no rain or nothing. You see, if it rains you'll have two or three days of good weather," said Robinson.

With the ceiling fan going and air conditioner blowing Elnora Robinson, 83, plays it safe and stays indoors.

In 2011, Mayor Wharton initiated the "check on four door to door" campaign. He asked residents to check on at least four neighbors daily during the summer heat, and this year he says he expects nothing less.

Nearly 200 people trying to escape the heat take shelter at the Memphis Union Mission every day.

"That always happens anytime it gets really hot or really cold, we always see an increase of people coming to us for help and that's what we're here for. So we do whatever we can to accommodate everybody," said Steve Carpenter, Memphis Union Mission.

The shelter is currently in need of bottled water and seasonal clothing like t-shirts and shorts.

"We can always use socks and underwear whether it's hot or cold outside," said Carpenter.

As Mr. Robinson continues to survive the scorching temperatures, he is depending on his body to warn him when to go inside.

"When I start swearing, sweating, and keep sweating, I know then that it's too hot," said Robinson.

Here are some more tips for surviving the heat:

  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air- conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
  • Infants and young children;
  • People aged 65 or older;
  • People who have a mental illness; and
  • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching. If you must be out in the heat:
  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first "tip" (above), too.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels).

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