Temperatures rise as ‘hot season’ begins

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 19, 2002

Messenger Intern

Most of the counties in Alabama experienced a heat index in the 100s Thursday, and Pike County was no exception as the index hit 101.

"It may not be the hottest day of the summer so far, but it’s pretty hot out there. We’ve reported temperatures in the mid-90s," said Brian Peters, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham. "And the higher the humidity is, the less the body can evaporate, the hotter it feels,."

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The hottest time of the year in labama runs from July to August and the sun reaches its daily peek around 2 p.m. everyday, according to Peters.

For those trying to beat the heat, Peters has a simple enough solution: go to where an air conditioner is.

However, there are many people whose jobs keep them in an air conditioner-free environment and those people have no choice but to brave the elements.

"It actually feels hotter than [the heat index]," said George Cook. "But this is nothing to what it felt like last summer. I would get so hot that I felt like I was going to pass out." Cook, who works for Johnson’s Lawn Service, spent the majority of the day pulling weeds and laying out hay.

For people who have to be outdoors, Peters suggests a light colored and lightweight ensemble and plenty of water.

"Basically, what we preach is ‘Water, water, water,’" said TSU athletic trainer Sherise Crisman. "We tell athletes to drink as much water as possible and to eat a really good meal before they go out into the heat."

Just drinking anything in the liquid form is not good enough to keep the body fully operational.

"Drink plenty of water and not just liquids. That helps with the body’s natural process of keeping cool though perspiration," Peters said.

When a person sweats the body loses minerals, such as sodium chloride and potassium, and the loss often causes cramps.

According to Crisman, that is what the emphasis of energy drinks is based on. They replenish the body’s supply of minerals. However, energy drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, should not be used as a substitute for water because of the sugar used to make the energy drinks.

"It’s a dehydration issue. When you sweat, you lose the electrolytes in your body. You do need to have enough salt in the body, but, like anything else, in moderation," Crisman said.

Fatty, greasy foods and caffeine should also be avoided when a person plans to spend a lot of time in the heat.

"Of course, avoid any direct contact with the sun, because that just keeps your temperature up, and avoid anything that would add to the body’s burden of perspiring," he said.

According to the NWS, two common types of health problems related to overexposure to the sun are heat exhaustion and heat strokes.

Symptoms of exhaustion are excessive sweating, cold, pale, clammy skin, fainting and vomiting. With exhaustion the body’s temperature can remain normal.

Possible warnings of a heat stroke are a rapid, strong pulse, hot and dry skin, fainting and vomiting. When a person has a heat stroke, it is possible for them to go unconscious. During a heat stroke the body’s temperature tends to be high.

Today’s forecast calls for continued high temperatures of up to 98 degrees.