Doctors say body gives warning signs of heat exposure

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Doctors said there are warning signs to watch for that could let people know they have been out in the heat too long. Dr. Ron Reynolds of Beach Urgent Care said pay attention and get out of the heat when a person becomes dizzy, confused, extremely tired, shaky and nauseated.

Those are signs that a person needs to cool down immediately. Dr. Reynolds said the consequences can be serious. Heat exhaustion which is a tiredness that comes with prolonged exposure to the sun can cause major health problems.

Heat stroke is something to be very conscious of because it can lead to brain damage and kidney failure. Heat rash can also seriously affect a person's skin.

Dr. Reynolds said there are steps people can take to beat the heat. Dr. Reynolds said people can use ice packs on different parts of the body to help them stay cool in the sweltering temperatures.

Another suggestion is drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary drinks. It is also important to wear some type of protective eyewear especially on the beach because a person's eyes can be severely damaged by the sun.

Reynolds also stresses the importance of wearing sunscreen especially on the face, legs, feet, arms and back. Dr. Reynolds added, "Trying to avoid getting into trouble here is basically not putting yourself in that situation in the first place. Making sure you have plenty of fluids that are available...that you don't stay out for prolonged periods of time; that when you do go out you're going out early in the day and later maybe avoiding the peak sun hours."

It is important for a person to seek medical attention immediately if he or she can not keep fluids down. It is also critical for a person to keep drinking water even if he or she does not feel thirsty. Dr. Reynolds said people do not realize how quickly the body is getting rid of the water they have already been drinking, and it is important to replenish those fluids.

Parents said keeping their kids safe at the beach is all about being proactive.

"I have a five year old and a two month old and the five year old right now is swimming in the water with daddy," Tasha Stewart says. "We have a gallon of water in the basket and we all have water bottles, and then the baby is stripped down to his diaper right now because he just got too hot. He has his own personal fan, and we're in the shade and I have an umbrella."

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