Officials urge caution if heading to the beach this weekend

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CARTERET COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - With the high heat index values many people are headed to the beach to try and cool off by the coast, but with that, emergency crews are reminding people to stay hydrated even if you are in the water.

When our "feels like" temperatures reach well into the triple digits, fire and rescue crews in Atlantic Beach say it's important to pay attention to how much water you are drinking and to take time to cool off.

Dehydration can set in very quickly and can lead to more serious problems, like heat exhaustion or, worse, heat stroke, which is when the body becomes too hot for it to cool itself down.

Emergency responders say your brain can actually begin to cook if your temperatures reach above 104 degrees.

Depending on how active you are being outside, officials say you should be drinking a minimum of a cup of water every 15 minutes.

At the beach, even with a breeze, the heat can take a toll.

"With the sand there, the sand itself can be about ten degrees hotter than it can be in other places, because of the radiation off of the sand, so you want to have shade out there, otherwise there is the danger of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and that sort of thing," says J. Scott Bell with the Atlantic Beach Fire Department.

Another thing to consider when heading to the beach this weekend is the threat of rip currents.

Officials say it can be tempting to stay in the water when it's this hot, but they do urge people to be aware of the surf and rip conditions before diving in.

Fire department officials​ recommend avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks when out in this heat since it can dehydrate you faster, but the biggest thing to remember is to listen to your body.