By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – It’s dangerous to be outside in these temperatures. That’s the word from relief agencies and health care professionals.
Temperatures in Northeast Mississippi reached 100 degrees Monday, with an even higher heat index.
Charles Wright had the foresight to start work early. At 9 a.m. he was almost finished mowing a property in Union County. “Don’t push yourself, and use common sense,” said Wright, who has worked outside for nearly 20 years.
Unseasonably warm temperatures can overcome a person before he knows it.
“Your body temperature can go up with very little exertion, even if you’re staying well-hydrated,” said Dr. Paul White of Tupelo. Cramps are usually the first sign of over-exertion, White said. Nausea and light-headedness follow.
At the third and most dangerous stage, heat stroke, a person’s skin feels hot to the touch and sweating stops. That’s when it’s time to seek medical help.
The Salvation Army is making sure everyone has somewhere to cool off. There was a full house Monday during the Army’s free lunch.
After the meal Woodrow White, 63, enjoyed a few minutes of air-conditioning inside the recreation center. Then he walked a half mile northeast, across the railroad tracks, to a car seat tucked inside a clearing in the woods that serves as his sleeping quarters.
Each day after lunch White fills his water bottle at the Army’s drinking fountain, then burrows down in the shade, right beside the tracks. Like anybody, White is welcomed to stay all afternoon, but he likes his independence.
“We’re just begging folks to come in,” said Susan Gilbert, the Army’s director of social services.