Doctor: Stay home to beat the heat, and COVID too

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Temperatures in the Mid-South hit an unofficial high of 95 with a heat index of 109 Wednesday, and doctors are warning people to stay indoors to beat the heat.

A heat advisory was issued and Memphis opened a cooling center at the Dave Wells Community Center in Frayser. However, with COVID-19 closing down many of the cooling locations, some doctors say some people are going to have to find new ways to stay cool.

“I’m almost tempted to go sit out and get my chair and go sit out up under those sprinklers right about now,” said Tony Dyson, who was enjoying the outdoors at Overton Park. “I’d really like to go to a nice pool today.”

While a pool may sound pretty refreshing, public pools in the city of Memphis are still not open thanks to COVID.

In fact, there aren’t too many public options for people to keep cool despite the heat index hitting more than 100 degrees.

“You can’t go inside anymore to like any indoor bars, restaurants or somewhere cool like a movie theater,” Alexandra Melnick said.

Doctors say with temperatures and COVID cases rising, people are going to have to get creative when it comes to beating the heat.

“It’s going to be difficult, obviously, if you can’t get into a cool environment. But wearing light colored clothing helps reflect the sunlight and lessen the heat,” Dr. J.O. Patterson said.

Patterson, with Methodist Health, said during this time of year, they normally see dozens of patients with heat-related illnesses in the ER.

However, he says when you mix those illnesses with COVID-19, you’re looking at serious complications.

“It’s somewhat like having the influenza. If you are short of breath or coughing, then you’re going to experience more problems going out in hot weather,” he said.

Patterson said the best way to get relief from the heat and COVID-19 is to just stay home.

However, he said if you have to be outside, maintain social distancing, stay in the shade as much as possible, and wear a mask if you can.

Patterson said a few keys signs of heat exhaustion include perfuse sweating, dizziness, nausea and muscle aches. He said if you’re symptoms worsen, you need to go to the hospital.

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