Martha’s Park and the Collett Street pool in Morganton were filled with those trying to beat the heat during the peak of summer Wednesday afternoon.
Katherine Benson, Collett Street Pool manager, said, surprisingly, they have been on par with the amount of people they see come to the pool in years before.
“Mostly regulars, but also people saying they have got to go in the water to cool off,” Benson said.
The lifeguards said with the temperature at 90-plus degrees for such a long span that they are thankful for the breaks that they receive throughout the day.
For those who must be outdoors during the day, they need to be aware of how dangerous the heat can be.
Capt. Brad Browning with Burke County EMS says that there are several way to know when you are experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
“Some of the symptoms of heat exhaustion can be confusion, dizziness, fatigue and muscle cramps,” he said. “If you have been exposed to the heat in direct sunlight for a good little while you can figure if you are experiencing some of those symptoms you are getting close to heat exhaustion.”
If not treated or cooled off, the heat exhaustion could turn into heat stroke.
“You get to a place where your skin is dry and hot and your confusion is much worse … even to the point of unconsciousness,” Browning said. “It is one of those things that requires immediate medical attention.”
To prepare those who will be outside for an extended period of time, Browning offered up some pointers.
“Hydration … we tell people all the time ‘Make sure that you are drinking water often , ’” he said. “Make sure that you have a lot of water with you and be able to get out of the sunlight into a cool place and take frequent breaks.”
He says the amount of water recommended to drink is different depending on the person’s body type.
“I would say a couple liters of water a day would be a good start,” he said.
He says Gatorade or any drink that replenishes your electrolytes is beneficial to keeping cool as well.
Don’t just look out for yourself, but watch others that are around you as well, he said.
“Sometime s it is easier for you to tell if someone is getting confused or showing symptoms of heat exhaustion than it is to see it in yourself,” Browning said.
He urges the public to be careful and safe during the summer months and to not st a y in the heat any longer than needed.
“If you start to experience symptoms that you feel like are more than you can control , please call 911, we would be more than glad to help you,” he said.
For those wanting to cool off, listed below are local public pool hours.
» Collett Street Pool, located at401 N. King St. in Morganton, hours are Monday through Friday 1-5 p.m. and 7:30-9 p.m., Saturday from 1-7 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. For in-city residents pricing is $3.25 for adults and $2.25 for students. For residents outside the city limits, adults can swim for $4 and student for $2.75. Season passes are also available through the Morganton Parks and Recreation department.
» Jimmy C. Draughn Aquatic and Fitness Center, located at 312 Massel Ave . SE in Valdese, hours (until Aug . 7) are Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Saturday hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 1- 5 p.m. Prices are $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for children ages 5 to 18 and $1.50 for children four years and younger.
For more information, call the Collett Street Pool at828-438-5363 or the Valdese Aquatic Center at 828-879-2144.
Staff Writer Jonelle Bobak can be reached at email@example.com or 828-432-8907.