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Be smart, avoid getting overheated

It’s hot outside. We realize that isn’t news to anyone.

But it’s dangerously hot this week, and experts are warning people to take a few precautions. If they do not, heat stroke is a possibility.

Most Mississippians know to avoid working outside during the hottest part of the day, to wear loose-fitting clothes and to drink plenty of water. But there may be some who don’t. Or some who aren’t able to adequately care for themselves or their pets.

“Keep a check on the elderly folks, the kids, the pets, and make sure you know they’re OK,” Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey said. “Don’t stay out in it too long, and be sure you’re not leaving pets and children in vehicles, because the heat in there will skyrocket.”

Even those of us who are accustomed to working outdoors in the summer may not know the warning signs of heat stroke. Feeling faint or dizzy, excessive sweating, rapid but weak pulse, cramps, nausea and cool, pale skin are all signs of heat exhaustion. If those conditions lead to headaches, hot skin and no sweat, the person could be experiencing a heat stroke — if so, call 911 and cool them down fast until help arrives.

The American Red Cross advises people to wear light clothing and avoid dark colors that absorb sunlight. It also suggests eating smaller meals more often, avoiding extreme temperature changes and staying indoors during the hottest part of the day — between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

And though most of us will curse the triple-digit heat for the next two months, we’ll be begging for it in the cold of January. So be smart, enjoy summer while it’s here, and try not to get too hot.