Doctors concerned heat could have negative impact on COVID-19 symptoms

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis heat and humidity are here and it doesn’t take much to get overheated.

RELATED: Hot temps and high heat index could lead to heat-related illnesses

Doctors initially thought the heat could have a positive impact on COVID-19 but now say they’re concerned it could have a negative impact.

“If you get overheated, you get dehydrated, it lowers your immune system and it makes you much more like to contract an illness,” said Baptist Memorial Medical Director Dr. Mark Castellaw.

Castellaw said many were hoping the heat and humidity would suppress the coronavirus, but instead the hot weather may have a different impact.

“A lot of people that have health issues don’t need to get outside and get overheated, especially if you’re on blood pressure medicine or diabetic medicine because that will lower your resistance and the last thing we want right now,” he said.

RELATED: Health expert reminds parents to look before you lock

Castellaw said even though the heat and humidity don’t suppress the virus, it does impact it. And this is just the beginning of summer.

The heat index topped 108 in Memphis Thursday and even 110 in Olive Branch around 2 p.m. It only cooled down a little bit after some afternoon showers.

And since there’s still a lot we don’t know about the virus, Castellaw said the best way to stay healthy is sticking to the basics.

“And the basics is hydration – making sure your drinking enough fluids, and that’s not when you get thirsty,” he said. “There’s evidence about filling your tank before you get in trouble. Get some water on board before you go out, so you’re not trying to play catch up.”

Even though it is so hot outside these days, doctors say you should still wear a mask but limit your time outside if possible and go out during the coolest parts of the day.

For the latest on coronavirus, stream FOX13 News on FOX13 Memphis Now – it’s free on your Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV as well as your FOX13 News App. You can also follow FOX13 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.