• 77°

Take care; it’s about to get hot

Guess what? It’s about to get hot. Since we live in the beautiful southeastern part of the United States, such a question and warning is not needed.

We know when the calendar switches to May that the cool mornings and pleasant afternoons are quickly coming to an end.

Next week, high temperatures will creep ever closer to 90 degrees, and will likely slip over that mark on more than one occasion. As we move into June, 90 degrees will be one of those numbers we might look forward to as mid-90s and 100 percent humidity become the norm rather than the exception.

And while we think of ourselves as “used” to the heat and humidity of summer, we also find ourselves sometimes complacent on the steps needed to protect ourselves and loved ones from the heat.

In addition to sunscreen, hats, light-colored, lightweight and loose fitting clothing, staying hydrated remains one of the most important safety steps needed to stave off a heat-related illness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water. They say, “stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks — these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.”

There are those with jobs that require working outdoors during the heat of the day. For them, safety measures are a way of life.

They are already familiar with the need to drink plenty of water, take breaks and dress appropriately.

For those who aren’t outdoors every day, such reminders are essential to avoid cramps, sunburn or worse heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The CDC says, “Pace yourself. Cut down on exercise during the heat. If you’re not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, stop all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint.”

For many reasons, we are blessed to call Mississippi and the southeast home. But one of the drawbacks — aside from mosquitoes that can carry off a small dog — is the heat and humidity and all that comes with it.

Remember to take precautions, take care of one another — watch out for your pets as well — and remember, the days of highs in the 80s will soon be something we look forward to.