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Climate Solutions Guide: Staying Safe in Extreme Heat

July 2023 is set to have been the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, officials at the United Nations Meteorological Organization say. July’s record-breaking heat comes on the heels of what scientists say was the hottest June since record keeping began some 174 years ago.

“We don’t have to wait for the end of the month to know this. Short of a mini-Ice Age over the next days, July 2023 will shatter records across the board,” U.N. Secretary-general António Guterres said in New York on Thursday, July 27. The last day of July 2023 is here, and that mini-ice age has not come.

These periods of extreme heat are just one indicator of climate change that will increase in severity and frequency. Mississippi is no exception.

Recognizing Dangers, Warning Signs

On the last day of July, the Mississippi State Emergency Management Agency issued another dangerous heat warning, saying heat indices could reach as high as 115 F in parts of the state. The agency urged residents to drink plenty of water, wear light-colored clothes and take frequent breaks if working outside.

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The Mississippi Free Press spoke with Dr. Vanessa Peyton, a board certified family physician with approximately 25 years of experience who currently works as a primary care provider with Teladoc Health.

She explained the symptoms of heat related illness and offered solutions that can help people stay cool.

“Prolonged heat exposure can lead to dehydration, it can actually cause your body temperature to elevate, which can cause a lot of physical symptoms, cardiac symptoms, (and) confusion,” Peyton said.

Vanessa Peyton, MD, with Teladoc Health, spoke with the Mississippi Free Press about the dangers of extreme heat and how to stay safe if you’re exposed to it. Photo courtesy Vanessa Peyton

She warned that when people “get to the confused state” they “are less likely to actually seek medical care, and more likely to stay in that hot environment as well.”

“So trying to address and prevent it is really the most important thing,” the physician continued. “So we don’t want to wait until someone’s really ill and then hope

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