WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–As we head into memorial day weekend, heat related illnesses are on the rise along with the scorching hot temperatures.
Wilmington Health Nurse Practitioner Emily Murtha says water will be the weapon to beat the heat this weekend.
“I know that statistics will show that we will see more people in the emergency room because of heat stroke and dehydration.”
Murtha says 50 percent of the elderly population are not drinking enough water.
“Elderly people become dehydrated much more quickly than the younger population,” she said. “We see a lot of that in the summer and people don’t realize how it can affect you. People will pass out. Older people will become confused and they’re just not drinking enough water.”
And as the holiday season may call for an alcoholic drink, Murtha urges drinkers to balance it with water.
“The problem is alcohol dehydrates you, so people have a tendency to lose their ability to sense what is going on in their body if they are drinking a lot. You can get heat stroke much easier,” Murtha said.
But drinking water is just step one to being healthy with forecasts screaming “hit the beach.” It’s important to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Murtha says she’s finding more teenagers and college students showing early signs of cancers.
“We’re not just talking about people who are in their 50s and 60s,” she said. “We’re seeing 25-year-olds that are just coming in with lesions that are changing, and they’re thinking nothing of it, and they end up being sun cancer and skin cancer.”
Murtha says it’s important to constantly cover your skin with protectant.
Heat exhaustion is another heat-related illness common during these scorching hot days.
So again: Be sure to stay hydrated.