Outdoor workers finding ways to stay cool in summer heat

Some people may just be acclimated to hotter temperatures, but many still need ways to cool down

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The thermometer read upper 90s Thursday, but it felt more like 102. Beating the heat isn't easy, especially if you have to be out in it.

"We got a little fan and a lot of hopes and dreams," said Chris Collado of Halal Food Cart.  "But we don't have anything else to keep us cool,"  he explained.

They say if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. But the cramped kitchen inside the Halal Food Car parked on Trade and Tryon registered 105 degrees. Collado says it has been even hotter.

"It's been 120 in here," he recalled.  "When it's 120, all [of us], we just pray, girl. Honestly, there's nothing we can do," Collado declared.

Collado and two other men focus on their customers instead of the heat. Dr. Charles Bregier of Novant Health says those who work outdoors eventually get used to the heat.

"There are people who do outside work day in and day out and they will drink 5 gallons of water a day and be dressed appropriately," said Dr. Charles Bregier of Novant Health. "But their bodies have gotten acclimated to it," he explained.

But Dr. Bregier advises most people, particularly children to keep their time outdoors to an hour or less on extremely hot days.

"Brief periods of play outside are fine, but bring them back in give them a big glass of water or some Gatorade," he explained.

Or spend the day at the pool. Double Oaks Aquatic Center has seen 500-800 swimmers a day. The number of visitors is expected to go up with the temperature.

"In the pool world it usually quiets down after July 4th," said Michael Johnson with Mecklenburg Parks and Recreation.

"But with it being so hot 99 and 100, we're expecting a lot more people to come out to try to cool off we've increased our staff here and we're ready for it," he declared.

Johnson says his team of lifeguards rotate every 30 minutes to keep cool and are required to carry water, wear hats and light clothing. 

More than a dozen lifeguards kept a watchful eye over the packed pool. A line formed outside of swimmers waiting to pay the $1 admission to enter. 

"It felt good," said Nala Vail after getting out of the water.

"If you want to be outside the best way to cool off is at your local pool," Johnson asserted.

Mecklenburg County operates several indoor pools, but some parents are choosing to keep their kids cool in other ways.

"It's a really hot day and it doesn't matter the pool, it's too hot. I can't handle it," Tasia Conlind declared.

Conlind brought her 9-year-old daughter to Sky High Trampoline Park to work up a sweat under the the AC.

"I really think people come here instead of being outside, because they don't want to be in the heat outside with the kids," said Jasmine Johnson with Sky High. "I'd rather be in here than be out there," she declared.

However, staying indoors can come at a cost. According to Duke, energy demand increases with the temperature. 

"We know it's extremely hot out and want to make sure our customers be comfortable, but it is also a good idea for customers to manage their energy use so they don't get surprised by their monthly bill," said Meghan Miles, Spokesperson for Duke Energy.

"We recommend that you set your air conditioning to the highest comfortable setting and if you leave home bump it up a few more degrees," she said. 
 

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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