Those who are planning to head to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas, including Arkabutla Lake, this Fourth of July holiday weekend are reminded to practice safety when they visit.
High water remains at several locations, however, and the Corps of Engineers reported that all beaches are closed, with the exception of the beach at the Sardis lower lake.
General safety measures that visitors should use while at Vicksburg District recreation sites include wearing a life jacket when boating, swimming, avoiding boat exhaust fumes, monitoring the weather conditions, and preventing heat-related illnesses.
Coast Guard-approved life jackets should be worn at all times on and around the water. Nearly 90 percent of all water-related fatalities at public facilities involved people not wearing a life jacket.
Swimming should take place only in designated, open areas, and swimmers should use the buddy system. Children should be under adult supervision during any activities on or near the water.
Boat exhaust fumes can contain carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas that can cause sudden illness or death. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include eye irritation, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness.
During the summer, weather conditions can change rapidly, and anyone who participates in outdoor activities should remain weather-aware. All outdoor activities should stop when a thunderstorm approaches.
When the weather is hot and humid, the body may develop a heat-related illness from sweating too much or becoming dehydrated while trying to cool itself. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, excessive sweating, clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, weak pulse and muscle cramps. Symptoms of heat stroke include headache, confusion, high body temperature, dry skin, nausea or vomiting, strong pulse and loss of consciousness. Anyone who participates in outdoor activities should drink plenty of fluids, wear lightweight and loose clothing, use sunscreen and take breaks in the shade or air conditioning.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.