Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Dr. Desai’s name. WAVY apologizes for the error.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — On a day hot enough to melt the lead in his pencils, 10 On Your Side found artist Brian Jackson sitting under a tree in Town Point park.

“It’s unbearable lately, and I have no air conditioning in my apartment,” he told WAVY.

This week’s extreme heat has the potential to make a lot of people sick. Certain factors can increase your risk for heat exhaustion and heart stroke. Additionally, Jackson is diabetic.

“I just go in the coolest place possible because if it’s too, hot my body releases sugar like a water faucet and your sugar just plummets and the next thing you know, you’re unconscious,” he said.

According to the Virginia of Health, temperatures have reached the mid- to upper 90s this week, and are expected to be near 100 degrees over the weekend. The heat index, describing how the temperature feels to the human body, may be in excess of 110 degrees.

Under a canopy of trees with water at arm’s reach is exactly what Patient First Regional Medical Director, Dr. Maulin Desai orders to avoid heat exhaustion or worse, heat stroke.

“People that are higher at risk, elderly, young children, people with cardiac disease, it could come on very quickly,” Dr. Desai said.

Even if you’re young and healthy, he advises you to avoid intense exercise, mowing the lawn or other strenuous activities outdoors until the sun goes down.

Also, Dr. Desai told WAVY that people need to know the warning signs including:

  • Heat Cramps: Heavy sweating and painful, involuntary muscle spasms.  Move to a cool area until symptoms resolve; consider ceasing outdoor activity for a period of time.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Heavy sweating; pale, cool clammy skin; muscle cramps; fatigue; weakness; dizziness; headache; nausea or vomiting and fainting. Seek a cool area right away; cease outdoor activity for the day.
  • Heat Stroke: A high body temperature (103 degrees or higher); warm and dry skin; fast pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion and unconsciousness. This is a medical emergency. Take measures to rapidly cool the person while dialing 911.

“If you start cramping and it isn’t resolving after an hour of fluids and hydration and rest,
it may be something you need to get evaluated,” Dr. Desari said.

If you notice someone getting confused or if they stop sweating seek help immediately.

For more information on extreme heat and heat-related illnesses, visit the VDH website.

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