Staying Cool and Safe During Summer Heat

With a heat wave hitting the Tacoma area, it is important to remind yourself of the potential dangers for dehydration and heat stroke. This can impact all ages, but those most vulnerable are the elderly and kids.

What is dehydration and what are signs to look for?
Our bodies need a lot of water to properly function. Our bodies are made up of about 75% water and staying hydrated is critical. When your body is losing more water (sweat, tears, using the bathroom, breathing etc.) than it is taking in you are at risk for dehydration. Therefore, when you are exercising or sick you need to drink more water to replace fluids lost. On extremely hot days, hydration is also very important.

If you suspect yourself or a loved one is dehydrated here are some symptoms to look for*:

  • Dry mouth
  • No tears
  • Sweating stops
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Weakness
  • Decreased or dark urine
  • Dizziness

    If you expect you are extremely dehydrated, an evaluation by a doctor may be needed. Dehydration can potentially cause illness and complications.

    In the heat, your body will attempt to cool itself. Your muscles could go into spasms (heat cramps). For heat related illness look for weakness, lightheadedness, nausea and vomiting. If untreated, a person may suffer from heat stroke- high fever of 106 and mental confusion. This is a medical emergency and 911 should be called immediately.

    How can you prevent dehydration?

  • Stay inside during the heat of the day. Don’t schedule exercise or activities outside if possible.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Check on your kids and elderly relatives or neighbors.
  • Know what to look for and monitor for signs.

    *(Source: http://www.medicinenet.com/dehydration/page3.htm)

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