Humidity smothered the Grand Strand Thursday as area medical centers reported higher-than-usual heat-related calls.
A meteorologist with the National Weather Service said about the same can be expected for Friday.
Heat indicies reached 105 degrees in Myrtle Beach, 102 in North Myrtle Beach and 103 in Conway between 1 and 2 p.m. on Thursday, according to Brad Reinhart, meteorologist with the weather service. Georgetown reached a scorching 108-degree heat index.
Reinhart said Thursday temps were among the top for the year.
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“It’s up there,” he said.
High dew points combined with the heat created a higher humidity, Reinhart said, which was realized at area hospitals, said Julie Kopnicky, marketing director for Grand Strand Medical Center.
“We haven’t seen a lot of patients related to the heat, but what we’ve seen is more respiratory issues with the humidity,” Kopnicky said.
Dr. Daniel Leibman, a pulmonologist with Grand Strand Medical Center, said those with heart disease and with lung conditions face the most challenges during this time of year.
“It varies depending on what your lung problems are,” Leibman said. “If there aren’t any lung problems, then it’s regular heat exhaustion and dehydration.”
Asthmatics are challenged by the pollen lingering in the heavy, humid air, Leibman said. He said the heat and humidity create a little heavier air quality, so it’s a little harder to breathe. And, he said, pollen doesn’t seem to move too much in the humid air.
Reinhart said Friday’s high temperatures will be in the low 90s along the coast and mid- to upper-90s inland, which should mean trouble again.
“It’s going to be pretty humid again [Friday],” Reinhart said. “Heat indicies will generally be in the 100- to 105-degree range again. It may be not quite as bad as today, but still a concern.”
Julie Rajotte, director of marketing and community relations for Conway Medical Center, said the impact of the heat was not limited to the beach.
“We’ve actually seen about six patients in our emergency department in the last two days who had symptoms related to the heat,” Rajotte said. “So far, those patients have been able to be treated and released from the emergency department.”
Rajotte said medical personnel often offer suggestions when the heat and humidity gets this high.
“If you’re going to be outdoors, make sure you drink plenty of fluids and wear lightweight clothing, which will help your sweat evaporate. Avoid the midday sun, if you need to be out.”
She said it is important for friends and and family members to check on the elderly and those with medical conditions during this type of weather.
“Keep a watch on them and assist them to an area that’s cold,” Rajotte said.