Whether it's Stampede or the ball fields, don't get beat by the heat

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Northeast Kansas is bracing for its hottest temps of the year so far - just in time for Country Stampede, and those weekend ball tournaments.

Safely beating the heat boils down to a few keys, says emergency physician Dr. David Biller of Topeka's Stormont Vail.

"Stay cool, stay hydrated, check on the young and the old," he said.

Dr. Biller says people should pay attention to signs a day of fun in the sun is taking a dangerous turn.

Early signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, clammy skin, headaches, and feeling nauseous, dizzy, or tired. If you don't get yourself cooled down, it can progress to heat stroke.

"When you see people getting confused - they’re passing out; they’re not answering questions appropriately; or they’re just not cooling off - in that case, you need to step up. You need to do more than just get in the shade. You need to get into the air conditioning. You may even need to mist off and get some cool water on your skin," Dr. Biller said, adding you also should seek medical help.

The best prevention: drink plenty of water.

"It's 70 percent of who we are, and all of our biological functions depend on water," Dr. Biller said.

Dr. Biller says plain water is best for most people. If you'll be outside and active all day, mixing in a couple sports drinks is a good idea - but water should still be the main component.

Also, be wary of alcohol.

"It's not the water your body needs. It also has a slight diuretic effect so it helps gets rid of some of that water that your body needs to hold onto," Dr. Biller said. "Sometimes it clouds our ability to realize, 'Oh, yeah. I have been exerting myself more; I have been more active than I usually have been; It's been a little bit since I've noticed that I've been sweating; or I haven't really cooled off.' It also masks some of the other things that people might see such as when you become flush - is he flush from the alcohol or is he flush because he's overheated?"

In addition, three days at Country Stampede, or a whole weekend at the ball fields, can turn up the heat on your health.

"If you go to a one day event, you would go home, you would rehydrate, you would get cooled off," Dr. Biller said. "If you're camping and you continue to drink alcohol through the night and you're not getting the normal rest and you're not cooling off in the air conditioning, you never get back to your baseline, so your reserves diminish over several days so certainly your risk would increase over several days. It is a cumulative effect and a cumulative water debt."

Stormont Vail will have a physician at the Stampede grounds at Heartland Motorsports Park from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. each day of the festival to support the AMR and Topeka Fire Department EMTs.