Metro Atlanta is experiencing record temperatures hitting 104 degrees. Forecasters say it has been nearly 5 years since the area has experienced this kind of heat. The heat index is expected to make it feel more like 105 to 110 degrees throughout the pre Fourth of July weekend and into early next week. According to the National Weather Service that the last time Atlanta experienced tempertures at 104 degrees was August 10, 2007.
Metro Atlanta pools and water parks will be very business this weekend with children seeking a cool haven from this summer’s heat wave. One very popular Atlanta cooling spot is the Fountain of Rings located at Centennial Olympic Park. But experts warn that because of the dangerously high temperatures, even children playing in pools, at beaches and at other water sites, should still be careful. Dehydration can occur even when surrounded by water.
Dehydration refers to the loss of water within the body. It can occur at any time and within any sport or outdoor activity when water is not consumed at an adequate rate. Parents and adults should be watchful for specific symptoms, especially when children spend extended periods of time in the water. Expert, Brenda Williams, says the classic symptoms include: “The increased urge to urinate, a dry mouth, or swollen tongue – and weakness, dizziness and fatigue. Although there is an increased urge to urinate, there may be little urination that actually occurs. Also when one is dehydrated, the urine is often stronger in color.”
Experts say, “Swimmers are more prone to dehydration because it causes high levels of exertion in the body. Oddly enough, swimmers do not feel the urge to drink because they are immersed within the water and therefore the brain is not aware of the need for water, and other liquids.” Those same problems can plaque children at pools, water parks and beaches. Often children are so caught up in playing they don’t realize they are getting dehydrated.
The first solutions to avoiding dehydration while trying to keep cool with outdoor water activities is to start with drinking plenty of water. Without water consumption, the body will not be able to replenish life preserving fluids. Next enforce breaks every 15 to 20 minutes, and each break should include at least eight ounces of water, or some other healthily beverage like 100% juice.
The National Weather Service’s warning of a Code Red Air Quality Alert will continue throughout the weekend and “all” outside activities should be monitored. Forecasters recommend limiting outdoor activities and rescheduling them for early morning or late evening time periods. Avoiding direct sunlight, wearing light colored, light weight, and loose fitting clothing will also help protect all ages from this relentless heat. For more information on hot weather safety tips visit weather.gov/Atlanta.