Stifling heat makes its presence known in Memphis

Dangerous heat gripping the Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The stifling heat has made its presence known in Memphis, as is typical every summer. Officials at the Shelby County Health Department said hydration is key to making it through a Memphis summer without letting the heat get you sick.

Those who work in the heat are most at risk of illness.

Steve James has run a hot dog stand on the civic plaza downtown for roughly eight years, and when it gets this hot he says he knows how to handle it.

“Water, shade and a little breeze off the river,” he said. “I cut my hours back about 30 minutes in the heat of the day.”

Alisa Haushalter is director of the Shelby County Health Department and said staying hydrated is the most important way to protect against heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Limiting time in the direct sun and taking frequent breaks are also critical, as she said heat exhaustion can creep up on you.

“Heat exhaustion happens more often than we probably realize. I love to work in the yard, so working outside all say. So, if I don’t drink enough water, if I don’t go in from them heat, by the end of the day I really don’t feel well,” she said.

The City of Memphis tells us it’s modifying hours for its public works crews whose jobs keeps them outdoors and encouraging them to use the buddy system to make sure members of each team aren’t getting too hot.

Most at risk include those paving streets because of the heat of the asphalt they’re putting down which can hit 300 degrees on top of the temperature outside.

“Those staff particularly are well-monitored to make sure they are not at risk for heat-related illnesses,” said Knecht.

WMC Action News 5 did reach out to a number of school districts about outdoor athletic practices. They reminded us of TSSAA guidelines which call for practice to cease outside if the heat index is past 104 degrees. Many teams are having morning practices to escape the temperatures.

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