Heat Increases Risk of Dehydration

Hot temperatures and high humidity have made plenty of North Dakotans pretty miserable this week. The North Dakota Health Department is urging everyone to take the necessary precautions.  It's especially important for folks who are spending a lot of time outside, like athletes who practice in the scorching heat, to understand the proper precautions. Otherwise, they run the risk of extreme dehydration.  When temperatures are this high, it's important to know when you or someone else is showing signs of heat exhaustion.

(Dr. Charles Allen, St. Alexius Medical Center):  "Some of the common signs that people might experience when they need help is if they start getting more muscle cramps than usual, which can occur in the arms and legs. If they start getting dizzy, light-headed, start vomiting, it's definitely a sign that we're concerned they're getting overly dehydrated.”

(Charter):  If you enjoy exercising, try to do it in the morning or at night, when temps are cooler, but if that's not an option, always be ready to cool yourself down when you venture outside.

(Dr. Allen):  "If you're hot, remember to slow down. If you're out running or biking, slow the pace down. If you're out, be able to cover yourself with water, the shower, pour water over your head to cool off. Just use practical sense.”

(Charter):  And using practical sense for those who make their living by working outdoors is extremely important.

Dr. Terry Dwelle, State Health Officer):  "Workers who are doing strenuous work or athletes need to be particularly careful to maintain their hydration during these hot days.”

(Charter):  And also try to avoid alcoholic beverages.

(Dwelle):  "Water is really good. Stay away from alcohol-containing liquids because that increases the dieresis of individuals, and then also some of the very high-fructose or the high-sugar-containing drinks.”

(Charter):  Extreme heat is nothing to mess around with, and taking the proper precautions will keep you at the beach, on the running trail or on the job, instead of in the ER.  If you notice someone with any signs of heat exhaustion, call 9-1-1 and try to move the person to a cool place.

Mark Charter, Reporting