As the Mississippi sun blazes overhead and humidity soars, residents brace for yet another scorching week of summer.

Surviving the intense southern heat requires more than just staying indoors or avoiding the sun. Many Mississippians are familiar with the strategies it takes to beat the heat, but whether it’s your first summer down south or your 50th, putting these practices into play will help keep everyone cool through the dog days of summer.

Many individuals often overlook the seriousness of rising temperatures which can be associated with heat related illnesses. Dehydration, according to Dr. Alena Groves at Mississippi University for Women’s Health Center, is the most common health issue brought about by this change in seasons.

“At the top is dehydration, and it’s just simple dehydration, but it can cause a lot of issues. The more those issues from dehydration [go] on, the worse the heat illness can get. It can escalate to heat stroke, heat stress it can be heat rashes, but those are the most common,” said Groves, professor of graduate nursing. “And during the summer time, we can have more strokes, more heart attacks and more issues with kidney failure and renal failure because they’re all fluid related.”

Though it would be ideal if everyone could simply stay inside, avoiding the summer months, that’s not always feasible. For those who work outside, athletes or anyone who finds themselves outside on a regular basis, Groves offers professional and medical advice to stay safe.

“You’re going to sweat more than usual in the higher humidity areas than you are in the ones with the drier heat. So loose clothing is one thing. Taking frequent breaks, especially if you’re an athlete or work in the sun, more breaks are required – usually every 20 to 30 minutes versus about every hour,” said Groves regarding healthy practices when in the sun. “And then frequent fluids, constantly sipping or replacing those fluids. Typically, in a normal day, about eight bottles of eight ounces, so about 64 ounces, but during the summertime, they actually recommend you double that if you’re outside and if you’re exposed to the heat.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is important to replace what is sweat out.

The CDC states, “Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.”

Groves echoed with an important clarification for refueling the body,

“The thing with heat is you actually lose sodium and lose water and lose electrolytes. You don’t want to get too much of that though, you can actually cause dehydration by taking too much sodium in.”

Individuals who are participating in outside activities today should be aware of the excessive heat warning until 7 p.m. and heat advisory issued by the National Weather Service.

In summation, dehydration is one of the most common health issues in the summer, especially for those down south. It serves as a gateway for a whole host of heat related illnesses. With Groves’ advice, however, it is possible to stay safe and healthy by taking frequent breaks, wearing loose clothing, and making sure to intake plenty of water and fluids.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

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