Take caution and don’t overheat

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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As the summertime temperatures rise we should take extra precautions to guard against overheating and possibly even heat stroke.

Heat stroke is when your body overheats because it no longer has enough water to keep it cool – you stop sweating. You may become dizzy, weak, or unconscious. This is a life-threatening condition, and 911 should be called.

During physical activity, your body temperature rises because muscles generate about 20 time more heat when you are active than when you are at rest. As your temperature rises, you begin to sweat. Sweating takes the extra heat and releases it to keep the body cool.

The more active you are, the more water you lose. It is very important to replace water lost through sweating so you don’t overheat. When water is not replaced, the body temperature goes up.

If you notice you are not sweating during physical activity, then you could suffer from heat stroke.

You can get water many different ways; you don’t always have to drink it. Almost any nonalcoholic fluid will do, as well as foods with a high water content.

Try not to have too many drinks with caffeine because the caffeine causes your body to lose water faster. Keep plenty of drinks and food that you like around while participating in physical activity. You will know if you have taken in enough daily fluids by the color of your urine – it should be pale or clear in color.

Drinks and foods that can help replace lost water include: juice, coffee and tea (decaffeinated is best), lemonade, sports drinks, soft drinks, soups, milk, smoothies, oranges, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers.

If you or anyone else show signs of heat stroke, it is best to seek medical attention immediately. Until help arrives, drink about half a glass of water at room temperature – not cold – every 15 minutes and lie down in a shaded area.

For more information, contact the Wise County Extension office at 940-627-3341.

Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.

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