Heat advisory in effect
David Mitchell (from left), Cade Crisler, Adam Madden and Dylan Maxie, members of the Hoxie Mustangs football team, head for the shade after practice. Hoxie and Walnut Ridge football teams are among those fighting the current heat wave that has heat indexes soaring over 100.
TD Photo ~ Amber Adams
A heat advisory is in effect throughout much of the south, including all of eastern Arkansas and Lawrence County. With sports practices already underway, local construction projects and normal day-to-day activities, residents should be aware of the dangers of heat and high humidity.
Whether summer plans include strenuous work-related activity or fun and recreation, the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services is urging Arkansans to be aware of the symptoms and seriousness of heat stress as a second heat-related death has been confirmed in the state.
While the elderly, people with health problems and young children are the most vulnerable, heat can affect anyone ~ even strong, healthy athletes. Local coaches are taking preventative measures to assure their players don't overheat by holding practices in the mornings and late afternoons, when temperatures are lower, and making sure team members are adequately hydrated.
"We weigh them in at the beginning of each practice and again at the end, to see how much fluid they are losing and how much they need to put back," said Hoxie Football Coach Tom Sears. "Anytime they feel like they need water, they can get it. We have it available throughout practice."
Workers on construction projects across the county are taking similar measures to fight heat exhaustion. They take frequent breaks, cover their heads to protect from sun damage and drink plenty of liquids.
The human body is cooled primarily by losing heat through the skin and perspiration, and problems often occur when the body is unable to shed excess heat. When heat gain exceeds the amount the body can get rid of, ones temperature begins to rise and heat-related illness may develop.
Judy Videll of the Lawrence County Department of Health and Human Services said there is no emergency assistance funding available as of yet.
"There is no funding or even fans available right now like the Watershed project we had a few years ago," said Videll, adding that the Watershed project was funded from outside the department.
Aside from the affect that high temperatures have on our bodies, they also impact local agriculture. As the heat intensifies, and rain is scarce, farmers
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