Tips for Prevention of Dehydration and Heat Illness
As heat and
humidity scorch the country, emergency physicians are sending out an
alarm about the dangers of dehydration and heat illness. Every year
hundreds of people die across the country due to heat-related-causes,
but the good news is education may be the key to saving lives.
illnesses are 100 percent preventable. Research shows people don't
drink enough, especially when active in the heat, which explains why
many heat-related problems like dehydration occur," according to Randy
Eichner, M.D., professor of medicine and team internist for the
University of Oklahoma.
step is to drink plenty of fluids," said Dr Moorehead M.D., president,
American College of Emergency Physicians. "It's important to bring
fluids with you, and when active or exercising to drink before, during
and after you've stopped."
When it comes
to what to drink Dr. Eichner says, "Sports drinks encourage active
people to drink more because of the added flavor and sodium —
people actually drink more than they would with plain water —
enabling them to fully rehydrate."
Here are some tips to prevent dehydration and other heat-related illnesses:
caffeinated beverages and alcohol — these fluids dehydrate the
body rather than hydrate like water and sports drinks.
Avoid carbonated beverages which can cause bloating and keep people from drinking enough fluid to rehydrate.
Wear light colored, absorbent, loose fitting clothing.
Stay in cool, shades areas when possible, protect your skin with sun block.
know in hot and humid conditions an active person can become dehydrated
in just 15 minutes," said Dr. Moorehead. As little as 1-point-3-pounds
of fluid loss for a 130 pound person can lead to early fatigue and
increase the risk of dehydration."
The symptoms of dehydration include:
— Dry lips and tongue
— Apathy and lack of energy
— Muscle cramping
— Bright-colored or dark urine
untreated dehydration can escalate to heat exhaustion or heat stroke
that can be deadly. The main symptoms for these include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- High temperature
- Rapid heart beat
- Decreased alertness or complete loss of consciousness
experience these symptoms doctors say stop activity immediately and
cool down in the shade or an air-conditioned building.
"Most importantly, when active, drink fluids to help quickly replenish what you've lost through sweat," said Dr. Moorehead.
Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing