Local News

A Swim Not Always A Cool Idea

Posted July 31, 1999

— In downtown Raleigh on Sunday evening, the thermometer still read 100 degrees. Few people would think about exercising or working outside in that heat -- but many folks would think jumping in the pool is appealing. But experts say even going for a swim puts you at risk during these triple-digit temperatures.

Although a plunge sounds like the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day, the heat can make you sick even while you're splashing around in cool water.

That's why Stephen Leischner is keeping a close eye on his son Zack.

"He's wearing a hat to protect his head," Leischner said. "Just keep them wet and keep them with fluids."

For Zack and his friend Shay that means drinking plenty of juice and spending a few minutes indoors.

Swimmers at Optimist Park may think they're beating the heat but experts say sometimes it's too hot even to swim.

"Because of the conditions themselves," says Justin Gailey of Six Forks Fire and Rescue. "And for people with breathing problems, it exacerbates all that and there could be some life-threatening situations with that."

Bill Bingham isn't taking any chances with the triple-digit temperatures. He usually swims about a mile. Sunday he cut his workout short and drank lots of water.

"The place people have problems is, they get in the water, they'll get kind of happy and cool, then they hop out into the sun and they won't realize they've been sweating the whole time and losing body electrolytes," according to Bingham.

So even though you are poolside, you could suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke. With steaming temperatures, the only safe haven is indoors in a cool room.


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