Knoxville (WVLT) - Monday's air quality level is worse than normal, at level orange, which means dangerous for sensitive groups, such as those with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children need to be extra cautious.
Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford takes a look at how you and your family can avoid a trip to the emergency room because of the heat.
It's not even officially summer yet, but it sure feels like it out here.
Doctors say you need to recognize the heat-related illness symptoms before it's too late.
"More people are getting outside and being more active,” says UT Trauma Coordinator Rhonda McAnally.
And that means more people like Tom Flowers are working up a sweat in this 90-plus degree heat. "20 minutes dripping sweat, yeah, it's kind of humid today."
Just 20 minutes so far, soaking wet and this 60-year-old plans to work on his tennis game for another hour. "I'm getting ready to go up to the National Senior Games in Louisville, Kentucky, and play in that, and trying to get as much heat exposure as I can."
Swing after swing, Flowers fills up on water. "I'll drink this jug,” Tom says. "You stay hydrated is the main thing, and you should always drink a lot of water before you start. By the time you get really thirsty, they say you're already at a deficit."
UT Hospital Trauma Coordinator Rhonda McAnally says you need to know the symptoms. "Patients with heat exhaustion can become confused, very nauseated, fatigued, dizzy."
And McAnally says too much time in the sun with those symptoms is often too late. "Usually a decreased mental status and long-term affects to the brain can happen with extreme heat exhaustion if those patients aren't cooled down."
"Is that fun? You want to go again?" Brad Broyles and his one year old son Adison are playing it safe. "I just make sure that he's got enough water before we come out and that I do, too."
And the father and son don't seem to mind the heat a bit. "Not bad at all. Our family's kind of, we're heat people. We love it."
We checked around with various local emergency rooms about heat-related incidents.
They say fortunately they haven't seen an influx of patients with heat problems so far.
So just take care of yourself and take advantage of the air conditioner.