BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - This time of year, afternoon rains can deliver some welcome relief from the sweltering heat. And that's what happened on Monday. Still, the heat index has been brutal these past few days, well into the triple digits. And that means working outdoors can be downright dangerous.
These "dog days of summer" are certainly a challenge for construction workers. Alton Rivers holds a traffic sign on Back Bay Boulevard for eight to 10 hours a day.
"It's a little bit cooler up under the umbrella," said Rivers, "You get a cloud every now and again. Get a little break."
He also knows the importance of drinking water and goes through eight or more bottles a day.
"Gotta drink a lot of water to stay hydrated," he said, matter-of-factually.
Failure to stay hydrated in the heat can quickly take a toll: Heat exhaustion, heat cramps and even heat stroke are possible without taking precautions.
"When they start feeling a lot weaker, after being in the heat for too long, they stop sweating. And they're in trouble then. They need to take frequent breaks and drink lots of fluid," said nurse practitioner Bruce Prive, who works at Coast Urgent Care in Biloxi.
There are some simple precautions you can take to avoid heat stress or worse.
- Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing.
- Don’t worry about breaking a sweat, that’s your body’s way of keeping cool.
- Stay hydrated, but avoid alcohol and caffeine. They can actually make you dehydrated more quickly.
Nothing beats cooling off at the splash pad when the temperature soars past 90.
"We come every Monday," said Aisha Brown, as she watched over the youngsters from Kid Quest Academy at the Point Cadet splash pad in Biloxi.
The children highly recommend a little spraying and spurting water to beat the heat.
"It's fun," said 12-year-old Arial, "You can run around and play, and get wet. It's burning hot today."