NORFOLK, Va. – Little ones like 2-year-old Phoenix packed Lafayette Park Tuesday despite a heat index flirting close to 100 degrees.
“It's hot and miserable, but being able to come in the park is nice,” said Phoenix’s mom, Emily Stein of Chesapeake.
Shaunna Black flew in from Dallas, Texas, to visit her daughter and grandkids.
“It's a little humid for us today, but we'd rather be outside than being inside in the air conditioning,” Black said.
Black’s grandkids and daughter took a break in the shade to cool off while making sure to stay hydrated.
“We came with a cooler full of water; we have a cooler, water and snacks,” said Black. “Because she and I are both fair, we started the day putting sunscreen all over us.”
To prevent heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, medical experts recommend drinking more water than you normally would.
Riverside Family Nurse Practitioner Asia Gordon said to look out for signs of heat exhaustion, such as getting too hot, skin turning too red or becoming confused
“If you are in the direct sunlight and it's 75 degrees and higher, you need to be mindful of your hydration, even if you're not engaging in physical activity; it's just your exposure to the heat outdoors,” she said.
Gordon warns a person can get dehydrated even when it’s not that hot out.
“A cool fall day, you can be dehydrated if you're working in your office and you're not hydrating yourself and you're noticing that you're having headaches or you're forgetful,” she said. “You feel a little dizzy when standing up; you've gone six, seven hours without emptying your bladder. Absolutely, those are all symptoms of dehydration and you're not even outdoors.”
Gordon says the elderly and children are more at risk of getting dehydrated. Parents should look out for signs of restlessness, irritability or if their kid is overly thirsty and has sunken-in eyes.
“We watch for like signs of sweat and red cheeks and overheating, and we try to make sure they're getting enough water and electrolytes,” said Stein, who has two young kids.
According to Gordon, it's best to stay indoors in a cool place if possible and avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine because that could dehydrate you faster.
“There are foods that can hydrate you as well - bananas, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes; those things are high in potassium,” she said. “You could avoid greasy foods or foods that contain a lot of sugar. Again, just replenishing those fluids, making sure that you're able to produce urine and empty your bladder every two to three hours, paying attention to your body.”