What you need to know about heat safety

(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - There have been at least five heat-related deaths since the western U.S. heat wave began last week.

Our First Alert Weather Team is tracking 90's for the upcoming holiday weekend with "feels like" temperatures of 105 for some cities. They want you to know that there is no need to be tough. Listen to your body.

How many times have you heard, "when I was a kid" we did this, we did that, implying that perhaps we need to tough it out or it's not that bad. In this case, tough out the heat.

You listen to your body and be mindful of the young and elderly around you. Because if you don't, you could end up in the emergency room or worse.

"Sometimes you don't even realize it," said Dr. Sanjay Iyer, M.D., who is a doctor in the Memorial Health ER.

Working in the heat, there are subtle signs of heat exhaustion which can lead to heat stroke and death.  Fatigue, headaches and even dark urine, which means you're drinking too much of the wrong liquids like coffee.

Dr. Iyer says it's imperative that you and your loved ones drink water.

"A 2-year-old, 3-year-old may not ask you for something to drink; they may be distracted. So, it's very important with young children in this heat to constantly reassess them.  Ask them, 'Are you thirsty, do you need a break.'  Same thing with the elderly and the handicapped," Dr. Iyer said.

Just because you're in the water, doesn't mean you're in the clear.

"For example, if you're in the pool or at the beach, you may not realize how much water you're losing from dehydration," Dr. Iyer said.

Some people think that when they stop sweating, they've acclimated to the heat. That's when Georgia Emergency Associates in Savannah say you're in trouble!

"Your body, your heart is trying to keep up with your fluid losses. After a while, you actually stop sweating and that's when we're talking about some organ dysfunction, so your organs start to be affected," said Dr. Jessica Tolley-McLendon.

Dr. Tolley-McLendon says heat exhaustion leads to an, "I'm tired and frustrated and give up attitude", which is probably what happened to Taron Walker's mother in Las Vegas when they found her in her home with an air temperature of 140 degrees.

"Trying to get someone out there to fix the air conditioning, and before you know it, they're there, they are by themselves. They're not hydrating like they're supposed to, the heat's getting to them and they become altered and somebody finds them," Dr. Tolley-McLendon said.

Dr. Iyer and Dr. Tolley-McLendon say never ever under any circumstances leave a child or pet or handicapped person young or old in a car, even for "just a minute".   Dr. Tolley-McLendon says accidents happen in our busy world so she has some personal advice, "When I was training up in Ohio in the wintertime, you know I'm tired, we're running back and forth between me and my husband, so I would leave my shoe.  I'd put my child in the back seat, take my shoe off, and leave my shoe with her; I can't go anywhere without my shoe.  It's going to make me go back there and look and say, 'whoa, whoa, whoa, my child is still in this car.'  So for those parents who are having a hard time; you're exhausted, your schedule is really hard, you're overworked, you're overloaded, trying to remember that your child is in the backseat particularly when they're babies and can't say, 'hey mom!'"

Copyright 2017 WTOC. All rights reserved.