NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Everything from situational awareness to wearing the right clothes and drinking the right fluids, the safety officer for the Newport News Fire Department says they all play a part in keeping your cool when the temperatures are sky high.

10 On Your Side reminds viewers about the WAVY Weather App every day, and Capt. Matt Oswald says that’s part of a good strategy to know what’s coming days in advance.

“Take a look at the forecast whether it’s through the local news, weather apps, and the most important thing in the summer months particularly is not just the temperature but the humidity and the heat index,” he said.

What you wear and what you drink play big parts in keeping safe when it’s so warm like it is right now.
Wear light-colored clothing, of course, because it doesn’t absorb as much of the sun’s heat. But, Oswald says the type of clothing matters just as much.

“Moisture-wicking materials are always really good. Anything that keeps the body core temperature down or maintains it at a lower temperature longer, the better off you’ll be,” he said.

Loose-fitting clothing will let sweat evaporate and keep you from overheating.

“Athletic wear or outdoor things, maybe even fishing attire that takes the moisture off your body, anything that doesn’t keep that core temperature in or around your body,” Oswald said.

Planning is essential, especially when it comes to staying hydrated.

“Hydration is something you can plan for days. If you know you’re gonna be out on a day like today for an extended period of time, hydration should begin 36 to 24 hours ahead of time. During exertion, I would focus on taking about 8 ounces of clear fluids, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages, every 10 to 20 minutes at a time, because we expel that kind of sweat.”

The first phase of being in trouble is heat exhaustion, and that has its own characteristics and symptoms. Then there’s a more serious level – heat stroke.

The signs of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating and thirst, and “if you’re thirsty, it’s already a bit too late. That’s your body’s indication that you need fluids, so take fluids early and often,” Oswald advises.

With heat exhaustion, you’ll also have increased body temperature and fatigue.

“I’m breathing more heavily, I’m finding that the task I’m doing is a whole lot harder than it was ten minutes ago,” he said.

And then if you stop sweating, it could well be heat stroke. “You’ll have a lack of sweating, some confusion or disorientation and other worse medical maladies that can happen like stroke, heart attack, and death.”

A climate scientist from Johns Hopkins University told the Washington Post this week this might be the coolest summer we experience for many years. It’s only going to get worse.