Heat wave continues affecting West Tennessee, posing risks

JACKSON, Tenn. — Extreme heat is back in West Tennessee, and there are many important heat safety tips to keep you safe.

Mallory Cooke with the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department explains small children and elderly adults are at the greatest risk of overheating.

“You always hear about kids dying in hot cars. That’s one of the most important things for people to remember,” Cooke said. “Always check your car front to back before you get out of the car. Make sure you have not left your child in the car. Make sure you haven’t left a pet in the car.”

Cooke says it doesn’t take long for a car in this heat to become deadly.

“Three children have already died this year in the United States due to heat stroke related with hot car deaths,” said Cooke. “Just really make sure you’re checking for your kids, especially this time of the year as a mom or a parent or grandparent.”

But Cooke says heat-related illness and heat-related deaths are preventable.

“Make sure you’re staying hydrated. Try to avoid sugary drinks and alcohol because that can really dehydrate you, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water,” Cooke said. “Don’t wait until you’re actually thirsty before you start drinking water, just make sure you’re having plenty of water all day, and another thing is stay inside if you can.”

If you do have to get out, Cooke advises you try to schedule your outings early in the morning or once the sun is coming down.

Be aware of dizziness, thirst, heavy sweating, nausea, and weakness. These may be signs of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which may look like confusion, dizziness, and becoming unconscious.

“These are situations when you need to call 911 right away,” said Cooke. “Those are all signs of heatstroke. Move the person to a cooler place while you’re waiting on the ambulance to arrive. Help lower that person’s temperature by putting, you know, cold rags on them trying to get them cool. And the CDC says don’t give them anything to drink yet.”

Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.

It is also important to be careful with pets outdoors in this heat. Do not leave them outside for an extended period of time and be sure to provide plenty of shade and water.

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