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How to prevent overheating as temps rise across the Ozs arks

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:45 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Temperatures across the Ozarks have been in record-breaking territory all week, and sometimes those temperatures can be taxing if you spend a lot of time in the sun.

Many people all across the Ozarks are excited to be back out enjoying parks again this week after a stormy week last week.

“We come to this park at least once a week,” Springfield park visitors Madison Hartwigsen and Brendan McBride said. “Or we try to, it’s just fun.”

While it is nice to enjoy the beautiful weather, several park visitors say it is definitely a little toasty.”

“I mean it’s just really hot,” McBride and Hartwigsen laughed. “And we ran out of our water really fast. My water is like warm now.”

Whether you’re lounging, walking, or running, you are likely going to feel the steamy air.

”It’s kind of brutal,” runner Phillip Malcolm said. “It’s nice, but it’s pretty tough staying hydrated and cool.“

”It’s hot, it’s hot,” park visitor Patricia Baldwin sighed. “But if you walk in the shade a lot, and wear sunscreen, and I have a hat to keep the sun off my nose.”

We might be used to this heat in August, but it warmed up so quickly that local doctors say your body likely has not had time to adjust.

“Not acclimating is one of the biggest issues when you head into a warmer climate,” Dr. Jamie Jones with CoxHealth Urgent Care said. “It got hot and humid real quick, so there really wasn’t any good time to acclimate.”

Jones said it may take some time for your body to adjust.

“Limit or shorten time out to allow your body to kind of get used to the heat before pushing yourself to spending a lot of time,” he said. “Limiting that time this first week or two being out in the heat is important, short bursts and allow your body to acclimate. Your kidneys will catch up. You’ll do fine, but don’t do too much strenuous activity in this heat.”

Overworking yourself and not hydrating can cause you to overheat.

“A rapid heart rate is one of the first symptoms along with muscle cramps,” Jones said. “And those are usually very mild at first, followed by profuse sweating, then you may start developing a headache. And by that time, you need to make some rapid decisions to get out of the heat and stop what you’re doing.”

If this happens to you, Dr. Jones said it can put you in a dangerous situation.

“Early on, if you’ll take some short breaks and get hydrated, you can generally recover,” he said. “But once you get to that point of developing a headache, you start to get a little bit of ataxia or in-coordination, or lack of good coordination. And then you head pretty quickly to confusion and that’s where people, especially older adults, can get into trouble.”

Springfield runners like Phillip Malcolm suggest getting plenty of fluids and rest before any activity.

”In the warmer weather you do have to slow down and take it easy,” he said. “Keep track of your heart rate, cause the heat will increase your heart rate.”

Runners and doctors suggest using apps, watches, or other devices to check your heart rate while doing outdoor exercise in the heat. Getting an early start in the morning can also help you beat the heatwave.

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