BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Near record temperatures in the Lowcountry means potential new dangers. With many of us planning to spend the holiday weekend outside, medical experts have some tips on how to stay safe.
While the heat means people are out enjoying the beaches or time on the lake, it also means more business in the emergency room.
“Very common, especially other holiday weekends, for our ER’s to be full of heat-related things,” said Amanda Nicholas, a physician’s assistant at Trident Medical Center.
If you plan on enjoying the weather outside, she said: “You can definitely try to get yourself very well hydrated. Electrolytes are helpful and make sure you’re well nourished.”
Nichols explained some of the symptoms you could experience while dealing with heat-related illnesses. “Fatigue, dizziness, feeling lightheaded, nauseous, and headache. There are definitely things that I would recommend that you seek shelter, try and stay well-hydrated and cool off as best as you can.”
Even if you plan to be indoors. “Heat absolutely makes a difference on the air-conditioning calls we have,” said John H. Carter, who owns JC’s AC’s in Goose Creek.
He said more heat means more people calling with serious temperature issues.
“When it’s 90° inside someone’s house, they need the air-conditioning fixed right away.”
Carter recommends annual air conditioning system checkups in the spring, but there is something you can do even today to make sure your air conditioner is able to hopefully operate well through this hot weekend.
“Keeping your filters changed regular is the number one thing a homeowner can do. I wanted to show you this – this is the perfect kind of filter the homeowner should use. It has the plates that are about an inch apart, it’s not a super exotic kind, it’s about an inch thick. Use this kind of filter, it’s inexpensive, they’re the best. They allow the best airflow.”
He says better airflow means less stress on your system. So, you can stay cooler inside after you spend a day out on the water.
Make sure you apply the sunscreen and drink plenty of water this weekend. If you do start to feel ill, take shelter and seek help.
Children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles, especially in extreme temperatures.
To reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke while outdoors, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.