Take precautions to avoid overheating

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, July 5, 2017

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As summertime temperatures rise, we should take extra precautions to guard against overheating and 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 times more heat when you’re active than when you’re at rest. As your temperature rises, you begin to sweat. Sweating takes the extra heat and releases it to keep the body cool. The best way to beat dehydration (the lack of sufficient water in the body) is to drink before you get thirsty.

The more active you are, the more water you lose. It’s 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 non-alcoholic fluid will do, as well as foods with a high water content. Try not to have too many drinks with caffeine because it causes your body to lose water faster. Keep plenty of drinks and food that you like around while participating in physical activities.

Drink more water than usual (two to four cups every hour while working or exercising outside); and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids. 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, and cucumbers.

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

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

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.

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