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Hot weather in York County brings uptick in heat-related maladies

Football players: 'even the wind is hot' at Rock Hill 7-on7 tournament

As hundreds of high school football players gathered at Northwestern High School Tuesday under high temperatures, parents and coaches took extra precautions to make sure everyone at the Air Raid 7-on-7 tournament stayed hydrated and safe.
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As hundreds of high school football players gathered at Northwestern High School Tuesday under high temperatures, parents and coaches took extra precautions to make sure everyone at the Air Raid 7-on-7 tournament stayed hydrated and safe.

During the first week of spring football practice, Northwestern High School varsity football player Jailyn Ervin said he started feeling cramps.

He was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for dehydration.

He wasn't going to let that happen again Tuesday during the Air Raid 7-on-7 football tournament, where coaches and parents were making sure the athletes stayed hydrated. Temperatures hovered in the mid-to-high 90s Tuesday afternoon.

"I drank a lot of fluids, a lot of water," the 15-year-old said. "It's very hot out here ... even the wind is hot."

Piedmont Medical Center's Emergency Medical Services has seen about a 10 percent increase in calls in the last week, some of them due to heat-related issues, said EMS Director Eric Morrison.

It's a trend typical for this time of year, Morrison said.

"Your body has to work so much harder when it’s hot. It makes it harder for your body to compensate for everything,” he said.

Morrison said EMS sees more calls early in the summer from people who have not yet adjusted their routines for the heat, or who aren't yet acclimated to the higher temperatures.

York County Emergency Management responded Monday to a call in which a woman working in her yard had become dehydrated.

Monday started a week that is forecast to be Rock Hill's hottest so far this summer.

“The heat will be a concern,” National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Kimball said Monday, with afternoon highs in Rock Hill expected to reach 95 to 97 degrees daily through Thursday.

People with preexisting conditions, including as the elderly and people with diabetes or respiratory issues, are more prone to heat-related problems, Morrison said.

He said neighbors should check on each other and ensure that homes have either air conditioning or fans.

As the heat rises, residents should take precautions against possible heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body becomes overheated, Morrison said. Symptoms include feeling faint or dizzy, excessive sweating, cool and clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid or weak pulse and muscle cramps.

"That's your body telling you ... to stop and get cool and hydrated," Morrison said.

At Tuesday's Air Raid tournament, a group of parents huddled under umbrellas to stay cool.

"It's been hot since 9 o'clock this morning, but we're out here to win it," said Tayari Feemster, who was watching her son Isaac Ross play for South Pointe High School. "It is excruciatingly hot."

Feemster said she prepared her son by making sure he was rested, stayed hydrated and had cool towels and spray bottles available.

James Steele told his son Tyleek Steele, quarterback for South Pointe, to drink a couple of bottles of water first thing in the morning.

"You don't want to get out there in the heat and you're not already hydrated, because once you get out there, it's too late," James Steele said. "We have had hot days before, but something's different about today."

If someone is thought to have heat exhaustion, they should get to a cooler place, drink water if they are fully conscious and take a cool shower or use a cold compress.

If a person begins to stop sweating, they may be experiencing a heat stroke and will need immediate medical attention, Morrison said. Signs of a heat stroke include headaches, red and dry skin, nausea or vomiting and possible loss of consciousness. Heat strokes can be fatal.

"When your body stops sweating it’s a bad sign,” Morrison said.

To avoid overheating, people should limit their time outside or stay indoors, Morrison said. People also should stay hydrated with water or sports drinks and avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.

Outside work should be done in the early morning or late evening when temperatures aren't as high and the sun isn't directly overhead.

As the heat rises, Morrison said residents should be aware of snakes and other creatures that may seek cooler places.

Residents should also be sure not to leave animals or children in hot cars. Multiple children have died in hot cars in South Carolina already this season. Thirteen children have died in hot cars in the U.S. so far this year, according to noheatstroke.org.

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082
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