Firefighter Daryl Paul said heat exhaustion is more likely in the summer heat.
“From the hotels to the beach to the sports complex to you know anywhere,” Paul said. “If you’re not hydrating heat exhaustion and heat stroke’s going to creep up on you.”
The best way for people to stay hydrated is simply to drink water. As soon as people wake up in the morning, Paul recommends drinking water to “prehydrate”.
However, older people are more likely to become dehydrated more quickly, Paul said. Unlike younger people, their bodies do not register that they are dehydrated as quickly, which can lead to heatstroke.
“The effects of heat exhaustion and heat stroke would probably hit them a lot sooner than maybe like say a younger person, in his 30’s or 40’s,” Paul said. “They may be able to maintain for a little bit longer than an elderly person or like a toddler.”
The Panama City Beach Fire Department responds to heat exhaustion calls at the beaches, where many visitors are not used to the heat and humidity.
Tourists don’t always realize that they are becoming dehydrated in the saltwater, Paul said. Once they step out of the Gulf, and onto the beach, heat exhaustion can become more prominent.
“If you’re in the water you don’t really feel the effect of dehydration because you’re in that cooler water you know but then you know if you get out and you sit in the sun it’s going to hit you,” Paul said.
As tourists bring sodas and alcohol to beaches, they are more likely to become dehydrated. But some are counteracting those dehydrants with water.
“We drink three or four bottles of water before we get out here,” Cade Medlin, visiting from Texas said. “And then we keep some water in the cooler.”