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The Hazards of Heat

Keeping Hydrated in Summer Heat

Summer is a time to enjoy being outdoors. But these few short months of glory are also not without their risks.

The higher temperatures associated with summer can quickly break down the body's normal responses, causing fatigue, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stoke.

During heat illness, the body's cooling system shuts down and the body temperatures rises. At first, the symptoms of heat exhaustion include thirst, fatigue and some cramping in the legs and abdomen. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can rapidly progress to heat stroke. These more serious symptoms include dizziness, headaches, nausea, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, decreased alertness and a high body temperature. In the most severe cases, internal organs may be damaged, and death may even occur.

The risk of heat illness increases during physical exertion, as well as when certain health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease are present. Certain medications, including antihistamines, and those taken for high blood pressure, and liver and kidney conditions also increase the risk as they interfere with your ability to sweat. People 65 and older and the very young are especially vulnerable.

While medical experts agree there is a lot you can do to treat heat related health problems, protection and prevention in the first place is always the best:

• Monitor weather forecasts on TV and radio. These reports describe hot and potentially dangerous weather in terms like 'heat watch', 'heat warning', 'heat wave', or 'air-quality advisory'.

• Always wear a hat and avoid direct exposure to the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

• Remember to carry a water bottle, especially when travelling or exercising. Dehydration is among the most common heat-related dangers. Be sure to plan strenuous activity early in the morning or evening when it's cooler.   See Tips on Keeping Hydrated below.

• If you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, asthma, drug or food allergies, a heart condition, or are taking certain medications, you should wear MedicAlert identification. It informs others about your condition, and reminds you to take necessary precautions.

MedicAlert services also help speak for you if you are ever in a situation where you can't speak for yourself. Their identification bracelets alert emergency responders and health professionals to your immediate and vital medical needs, and then provide them with access to your medical record and emergency contacts. More information about how a membership in MedicAlert can help protect your life is available at www.medicalert.ca or by calling 1-800-68-1507.

So, enjoy those long, lazy days of summer. Just remember to take extra care to protect yourself from the heat.

 

Keeping Hydrated in Summer Heat

We've all experienced it at some point when working out or on the field – fatigue sets in, your mouth feels dry and your legs are heavy. These are all common signs of dehydration.

When an athlete works out, body fluid is lost through sweat. If the fluid lost through sweat is not replaced, dehydration and early fatigue are unavoidable. Losing even 2% of body fluids (less than 3.5 pounds in a 180-pound athlete) can impair performance by increasing fatigue and affecting cognitive skills. Since many athletes lose between 5-8 pounds of sweat during a game, it's easy for them to become dehydrated if they don't drink enough to replace what is lost in sweat.

Dehydration can be prevented

When to drink: Drink before you get thirsty. By the time you're thirsty you are already dehydrated, so it's important to

drink at regular intervals – especially when it is hot outside.

What to drink: Research shows that a lightly flavoured beverage with a small amount of sodium encourages people to drink enough to stay hydrated. The combination of flavour and electrolytes in a sports drink like Gatorade provides one of the best choices to help you stay properly hydrated.

What not to drink: During activity, avoid drinks with high sugar content, alcohol or carbonation because:

• Alcohol can dehydrate the body

• Fruit juices, soft drinks and energy drinks are high in sugar which slows fluid absorption by the body

Dr. Lawrence Spriet is a leading sports nutrition researcher with the University of Guelph and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. More information on sports drinks and hydration is available at www.gssiweb.org.

- News Canada


All tips are offered as suggestions only.  While we have tried to provide you with a list of suggestions to help parents when travelling with children to keep them safe, unfortunately, we can’t think of everything and it is the responsibility of parents to ensure their children’s safety.

 

For More tips go to:

Tips for Making Summer Safe from Safe Kids Canada - Summer Safety Checklist

Walking Safety Tips and Road Safety Rules for Walking with Children, Tips to Teach Children Road Safety

Biking Safety Tips

Pool and Beach Safety Tips

Playground Safety Tips

Sun Safety Tips

Safety News - Summer Safety Warning - Press Release from Consumer Product Safety Commission

Safety News - Beginning Summer Vacation With Safety Basics - ComEd Offers Summer Safety Tips to Families

Pools and Parasites: Keeping Your Child Safe - The Children's Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation (CDHNF) Warns Parents about Dangerous Waterborne Bacteria and Parasites Peak During Late Summer

See the following sections for specific tips:

Keep the Bugs at Bay, Eight Tips for a Bug Free Summer

Safety News - Summer Safety Warning - Press Release from Consumer Product Safety Commission

For General Travel Safety Tips Click on 

general safety tips for travel with children

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