Staying hydrated is the key to heat safety

Wednesday, June 28, 2023–9:54 a.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

Many people will be participating in outdoor activities this Independence Day weekend, and with temperatures expected to be in the 90s, everyone is being reminded of heat safety.

According to Katie Hasty, injury prevention coordinator with Atrium Health Floyd, in extreme heat, your body has to work extra hard to maintain its normal temperature.

“If you are going to be outside, try to limit that outdoor activity,” Hasty said. “If you are a runner or if you are participating in sports, try to do it when it’s the coolest, like during the morning or evening hours. If you’re outside, we try to tell everybody to make sure to try and find some shade, and wear a hat or sunglasses. Wear loose and light-colored clothing, and make sure you drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.”

And don’t forget the sunscreen.

Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and it can dehydrate you.

You should also be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion.

“You end up a lot of time with a headache or dizziness,” Hasty said. “Sometimes you have a rapid or weak pulse, cold, pale, clammy skin and an extremely high body temperature. Sometimes people end up fainting or passing out. If you start experiencing any of those symptoms, you just need to make sure you are hydrating and move yourself to a cooler place. Go lay down, sip water or take a cool shower, if you can.”

When it comes to staying hydrated, water is the best option.

“Sports drinks are all water-based and they have some sugar, which may not always be the best option, but they do have electrolytes,” Hast added. “In high heat, I think it’s better to grab some water and drink plenty of it. Drinking enough fluids is probably the most important thing you can do to prevent any heat illnesses.

Avoid drinking too much alcohol, because it can worsen dehydration.

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