In a few weeks, many of us will either be frolicking at the beach or the pool or taking part in other outdoor activities in the summer sun. Dr. Joshua Feinstein, an emergency medicine physician with Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center offers some tips on how you can beat the heat and stay hydrated this summer.

Heat

  • Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse. These two symptoms alert you that your body is overheating.
  • You may also experience muscle cramping, fatigue, headache, dizziness, etc.
  • Heat stroke, however, is much more serious. It occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 degrees, and you begin to become confused.
  • Other symptoms include red skin, headache, and nausea/vomiting. If you experience these symptoms, get to an emergency room as quickly as possible. If left untreated, you open yourself up to brain, kidney, heart and/or muscle damage.
  • To avoid these two conditions, experts say it’s important to wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, and limit your time outside during the day, especially between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., the hottest part of the day.
  • If you must be outside for extended periods of time, it’s important to find a cool area, either in the shade or indoors, and take frequent breaks. It’s also extremely important to make sure you never leave a child or animal in a vehicle for any period of time.
  • Children can overheat four times faster than adults. Please always check your car before you leave it to make sure there is no one in there.
  • Practice the ‘look before you lock’ strategy to ensure you are not forgetting anyone in the vehicle.”
  • People over 65 years of age and older; people who are overweight or have existing medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, are also susceptible to serious illness from exposure to extreme heat.

Dehydration

  • Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, extreme thirst, heavy, fast breathing, fast heart rate, low blood pressure, fever, little to no urine, and irritability, drowsiness and/or confusion.
  • Drink plenty of water and stay away from alcohol.
  • Drink about eight ounces of water every 20 minutes. This will help with the loss of moisture you will experience while sweating.
  • Avoid drinks high in sugar and caffeine.
  • Drink sports drinks to replace electrolytes.
  • Excessive use of alcohol is unwise any time of year; however, physicians see an increase in negative consequences in the summer when people are gathering with friends at the beach, the lake, the pool or throwing a barbecue in the backyard.
  • Having one too many can lead to many harmful health conditions such as motor vehicle collisions, falls, drownings, burns from cooking and/or using fireworks.
  • If engaging in popular summertime activities such as grilling, boating or swimming, it’s important to watch your alcohol intake to reduce your risk of injury.
  • Designated drivers or utilizing ride share or alternative transportation can reduce your chance of getting injured or causing injuries for someone else.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat illness and dehydration and taking quick action in the case of an emergency will give you a better chance at enjoying a healthy summer with family and friends.. To learn more about Memorial Hermann, click here.

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