Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. Heat-related illnesses may occur when the body’s temperature rises too quickly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration, excessive urination or sweating.
Heat-related illnesses can range from cramps to heat exhaustion to heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.
Factors or conditions making some individuals more susceptible to heat-related illnesses include older adults, young children, physically disabled, excessive body weight, fever, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, prescription medication, alcohol use, and sunburn.
Staying hydrated is important, especially when the temperature rises or during increased physical activity. Try these easy ways to increase your fluid intake:
1. Carry a reusable water bottle. Keep it full.
2. Add flavor to your water, such as slices of lemon, lime, cucumber or strawberries. Herbal ice teas can be a great way to increase fluids.
3. Eat Fruit or Popsicle. You can get fluids from the foods you eat. Watermelon and cantaloupe have high water content. A 100% fruit juice pop provides fluids and is refreshing on a hot day.
4. Plan ahead. If you are going to be outside at a picnic or ball game, make sure to pack plenty of fluids.