The sign at Avon-by-the-Sea said it all: Drink Water and Hydrate. It’s gonna be a hot one!
As temperatures began to soar, the beaches were already attracting crowds before 9 a.m. But the combination of extreme heat and sun carries serious health hazards. Whether at the beach or inland, health experts advise residents to take the necessary precautions to avoid heat exhaustion or worse — heat stroke.
Dr. Robert Sweeney of Jersey Shore University Medical Center warns of heat stroke and other health issues. “Actually, people develop mental changes, they may become disoriented,” he said, or worse. “You can actually get some significant illnesses, we’ve seen seen people that have developed severe dehydration with kidney injury.”
So is the rule of thumb — 8 glasses a day — the most effective way to say hydrated? According to Dr. Sweeney, the amount of water you should drink varies from person to person. But with temperatures this high, he recommends that everyone drink more water than usual, due to more losses from sweat and evaporation.”
But dehydration isn’t the only risk people face on a day like today. “Dermatologists along the Jersey Shore will tell you that there’s a large number of people that develop malignant melanoma and melanoma is actually a very serious form of skin cancer that can be fatal,” said Sweeney.
Morganville resident Patrick Dunleavy experienced the dangers of sun exposure firsthand, saying “I go to the dermatologist all the time and they have to burn the skin cancer off of my forehead and the side of my face,”
Others take a more cavalier attitude towards the dangers posed by the sun. Rebecca Vanderhorn from Wyckoff said “personally i like when it’s an oven outside so i can get some roast and a little tan.”
Other precautions include heeding mom’s advice abut waiting to go into the pool or beach after eating.
Dr. Sweeney explained, “after you eat, your body has to put some blood into your intestinal track to help digest the food and the exercise actually takes the blood away from your digestive track into your muscles.”
He says on days like this, he also sees an increased risk of spinal injuries and they don’t all happen in the ocean.
“People also need to be very vigilant about their backyard pools. One of the most tragic things that we see over and over every year are drowning of toddlers in swimming pools.”
With the heat wave coming on the official start of summer, experts stress that an ounce of caution may be the best protection for a healthy beach season.
Reporting from Neptune, Lauren Wanko files this report.