CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Doctors and scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to create better solutions for heat-related health issues.

Over the past few years, researchers have found what they call “heat islands,” or areas on the Charleston Peninsula where the heat feels most intense. These island areas include places with a lot of asphalt and not a lot of shade.

MUSC researchers suggest that the Lowcountry needs to expand cooling centers, plant more trees to increase shade in open areas, and create more access to water for people who need it.

According to the Dean Emeritus in the College of Medicine at MUSC, Dr. Jerry Reves, another solution, in the beginning stages, is spraying an asphalt rejuvenator. Dr. Reves told News 2 that the city is testing this solution through an experiment that is being done on the roads.

“They’ve taken one side of the road and painted it with this material that reflects heat during the day. And then we’re going to take measurements and see if the side of the road that had the better, or had the new protected coat is cooler,” said Dr. Reves.

Dr. Reves said this is important as asphalt can be dangerous during extreme heat.

“Asphalt is the worst thing you can be around because it absorbs the heat during the day and then releases it during the evening so it never cools down,” he said. “Ironically, one of the worst heat islands is the medical district itself, where I am sitting,” said Dr. Reves.

Dr. Reves told News 2 that while the road spraying project is in the early trial stages, folks can take preventative measures themselves to fight the heat, like staying hydrated and avoiding un-shaded areas with asphalt if possible.