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Beating the heat; how to safely enjoy the hot weather

As temperatures reach record highs for the year, health care experts remind us how to soak in the sun safely.
Updated: Jun. 5, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The temperature is heating up along with our risk of heat related emergencies. With a 90 degree day Saturday, dozens of people hit the water at West Rock Wake Park.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” said Kayla Waldorff, a regular at the park.

She said she’s thrilled the weather is finally staying hot.

“If it’s going to be this hot, I’m going to be on the lake,” said Waldorff.

Dr. Ali Khan is a primary care provider at O-S-F Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford. While a dip in the water might be tempting in the scorching heat, he said it could put us at risk.

“Heat exhaustion is typically what I believe a majority of us experience when we’re doing too much in the heat. That’s when you kind of feel light headed, dizzy,” said Khan.

To keep herself safe and energized, Waldorff said she always comes prepared.

“Drinking a lot of water. I bring a lot of let’s say, healthy snacks.”

Others who frequent the Wake Park said it’s a good idea to dip in the water after a few laps on the board, and to rest in shade if you’re feeling tired. They also said to go at your own pace and have fun.

Dr.Khan advised people to avoid peak sun hours which lands between lunch and dinner.

“Even if it looks good outside,” said Khan. “There may be some days where it’s better to keep the kids indoor in a cool environment with the air conditioning or fan.”

IF you’re outside for a long period of time, Khan said to be sure to find shade, even if you’re wearing sun screen.

“It doesn’t mean you’re immune just because you have that sun screen on,” he said. “You still have to go in the shade and take those breaks.”

Dr.Khan noted that symptoms of heat exhaustion could be dizziness, fatigue, or a headache. If those symptoms are ignored, he said you’re at risk for a heat stroke. If you’re experiencing a heat stroke you might appear and feel disoriented. In that case, he said you should call 911 or go to the hospital.

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