AMR medics warn summer heat, high humidity can be deadly


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – AMR paramedics are cautioning people to remember that soaring temperatures and high humidity can kill. One person in Mississippi died last month from heat illness.

Steve Peacock, operations manager for American Medical Response ambulance service, said, “Even the healthiest among us can suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke, but elders, children up to four years of age, chronically ill individuals, obese people and substance abusers are more vulnerable.”

Peacock said, “There are specific ways to prevent heat illness, and, when prevention fails, we all need to recognize heat illness quickly and help the victim fast.”

Heat illness can occur inside as well as outside, especially in buildings with no air conditioning or ventilation.

Prevention tips on how to be prepared for the summer are below:

  • A major part of avoiding heat illness is to drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids continuously. Water and commercial “sports drinks” are best. Drink no alcohol and avoid energy drinks and large quantities of coffee, since alcohol and, to a lesser extent, caffeine make the body lose fluid, not store it. If you have no salt restrictions in your diet, mix a pinch of salt in each quart of water you drink.
  • Start drinking those correct fluids hours before starting any strenuous effort. Keep taking in the fluids throughout the day and evening. Beware: It is possible to get ill from drinking too much water or sports drinks, so don’t drink huge quantities.
  • Work outside only in the cooler morning and evening hours, if possible. Take frequent breaks and stay in the shade as much as you can. Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing made of fabric that “breathes” such as cotton. Wear a broad-brimmed, loose weave hat and take it off from time to time. If you’re out walking, use an umbrella or parasol.
  • If your home has no air conditioning, spend the hottest hours of the day in a library, shopping mall, senior center or other public facility that is air conditioned. In a heat wave, friends and family of elderly or disabled people should check on them frequently.

An early symptom of heat exhaustion is feeling light-headed or dizzy. Heat exhaustion also includes heavy sweating with cool, clammy sometimes pale skin. It also brings on headache, nausea, vomiting, irritability, weak pulse and rapid but shallow breathing. Body temperature is usually normal or only slightly elevated.

For more information and tips on how to survive in the summer heat, visit


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