Staying Safe in the Heat

Reporter: Sally Delta

Lynchburg, VA - Heat like this can be dangerous if you're not prepared, especially for the young and elderly.

According to the CDC, approximately 400 Americans die each year from heat-related illnesses. In recent years it has caused more deaths than all other weather disasters, including tornadoes, floods and hurricanes.

After seeing the damage a tornado can leave behind, the sun doesn't seem so scary.

"Most of the time when you see a natural disaster coming, you take the proper preparation, and we ought to be doing the proper preparation when it comes to heat," said Dr. Thomas Eppes with Forest Family Physicians.

Eppes says to prepare for the heat, start with your wardrobe.

"The key is dress cool, meaning very light clothing and stay hydrated - big time," said Eppes.

Whether it's at work or on the field, Eppes says it's important to drink water throughout the day and take frequent breaks - that's exactly what BB Shavers is enforcing at his youth football camp.

"They've been working hard in this hot sun out here, but we're keeping them cool," said Shavers, director of a youth football camp.

Between drills, players take water breaks and listen to motivational speakers. But if the heat does become too much, there are warning signs such as feeling light headed, losing the ability to focus, getting nauseated or simply not acting like themselves.

"The number one thing is to get them in a cool place, number two - get them hydrated. And if symptoms persist, get them to a doctor," said Eppes.

So get out and enjoy the sun, but do it in moderation. When it comes to your health, Eppes says to trust your gut.

"Frankly, when it gets really hot people don't want to be outside. They come in and there's a reason we have a thermostat in our body that tells us, you know I'm kinda hot and I want to get out of here," he said.

Eppes suggests the elderly not go out in heat like this at all. But if they insist, it's best to do so in the early morning or late evening when it's a little cooler.