Doctor shares safety concerns and tips as high temperatures approach

Updated: Jul. 12, 2017 at 8:30 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's no secret that Alabama gets hot during the summer. However, Thursday and Friday's temperatures are expected to be the hottest the area has seen this season, with the potential for a heat advisory.

Dr. Shaikh Wahid, a physician in East Montgomery, said the two groups who are most at risk of heat-related illnesses are young athletes who play outside and people who work predominately outdoors.

"Every year, in the United States, the number of heat-related deaths in young sports athletes increases," Dr. Wahid said.

Dr. Wahid said muscle cramps and pains are the first signs that something is wrong.

"It starts with heat cramps," Dr. Wahid said. "Then, it's heat exhaustion, which then can lead to heat-related stroke and heat-related injuries that are deadly."

Symptoms include dizziness, vomiting, muscle aches and feeling faint.

He said it is important for people, especially children, to be able to identify their symptoms so they know when they need to take a break. This is why he said he warns against letting children play outside after they've taken drugs like Adderall, other amphetamines, cold medicines, cough syrups and any other stimulant drug that would desensitize them and keep them from feeling the symptoms. Dr. Wahid said the risk of illness is worse when someone can't even detect that they're being affected early on.

While detecting the symptoms is key to treating them, Dr. Wahid said it is important that parents let their children know it's okay for them to take a break if they feel tired.

"Do not push," Dr. Wahid said. "I have had parents get upset with me for not writing a note saying their child is good to play. You have to make sure they are hydrated and rested enough. If not, you are putting them at risk."

Resting is also important to John Skaggs, owner of Country-Jack Landscaping, and his team members.

"I always tell the guys not to kill themselves out here," Skaggs said. "You can't work straight through out here in this sun and this heat. It's just too hot to do that. You'll end up passing out or having a heat stroke."

He said he has been in the business for almost 10 years, and he is no stranger to how stifling the heat and humidity can get.

"By the time you've been out here for an hour or two hours, you're looking like you just came out of a pool," Skaggs said.

Dr. Wahid said it is important to be hydrated before spending time in the heat, with a combination of water and some sort of sports drink so your body is getting both fluid and salt. He also said to make sure your child is used to spending extended amounts of time in the heat if they have to do so for any kind of sporting event or camp.

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