Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

by Melissa Brunner

The alarm went off at 6:30 Thursday morning and we were out the door by 6:50, running the 500m laps around our fenced area with the dogs.

No, it was not early enough to beat the heat! My shoes were getting wet from dew on the grass, but, by the second lap, I didn't even notice because I was sweating so much!

The official Topeka temperature reached 100 degrees Thursday afternoon. Heat in Kansas is nothing new. Still, it's worth taking a few minutes to remind ourselves of the precautions we need to take to protect our health in the hot weather. I visited with Dr. Kyle Garrison at Stormont-Vail's Emergency Dept. about this topic and his number one reminder is to hydrate. The best way to do that, he says, is by drinking water. He says you do need to think about replacing electrolytes if you've been outdoors exerting yourself for a while. Sports drinks are good for that, however, he says, most of them contain so much sugar as to actually work against you. Opt for low-sugar versions and he suggests drinking a water for every sports drink. He says water serves to regulate your core temperature and your metabolism - basically, we need water for our systems to function properly.

Dr. Garrison's bottom line: Use common sense. No one is immune from the eventual effects of heat illness and, in fact, the younger people who are least susceptible because they're healthiest are often the ones who fall victim to it because they believe they're indestructible.

Listen to what your body is telling you and watch each other to see if someone might be having trouble. Feeling light-headed, queasy, dizzy or headachy are all signs you need to get somewhere cool. If a person stops sweating, it's a sign of an immediate medical emergency. When it's this hot, we all need to take time to chill out!

Further information and links to articles on the topic can be found at this National Institutes of Health site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/heatillness.html


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