It was a cooker outside today. Once the rain stopped falling and the sun came out this afternoon the humidity came with it. Doctors in the Emergency Department at the Avera Heart Hospital are hoping you took precautions to ensure the stiflingly heat didn't interfere with your heart.
If you are outside exerting energy on extremely hot humid days, Avera ER Doctors say in order to stay well, you need to stay hydrated.
Avera Heart Hospital's Emergency Department Director Dr. John Jerstad says, "When you get hot your natural defense is to sweat. When you sweat you lose fluids. When you become dehydrated your heart's natural compensation is to speed up and there comes a point that it can only speed up so fast so your blood pressure becomes low. You may pass out and eventually die if you don't get help so dehydration and heat are serious illnesses."
The Doctors and Nurses in the Emergency Department at the Avera Heart Hospital always expect a busy day when the weather heats up to extremes. If you've been in the heat and become light headed or confused, nauseated it's time to get out of the sun and in to some air conditioning.
Dr. Jerstad says, "If you are sweating and suddenly stop sweating it's an emergency situation. You are so dehydrated that you can't generate enough sweat which is your natural defense against the heat. At this point you need to get to the ER immediately."
Your best defense is fluid, but you have to be careful of what you're drinking. Water is best since that's what you are sweating out. Dr. Jerstad says the general rule of thumb is if you are active and out in the heat you need to drink 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes. If you haven't eaten much all day, the Gatorades/PowerAdes (sports drinks) may be a good choice because it has electrolytes but be careful to still drink plenty of water because those have a lot of sugar. Energy drinks are bad on hot days.
Dr. Jerstad says, "Energy drinks are full of caffeine and caffeine does two things. It's a stimulant which speeds your heart rate up and it's a mild diuretic so you drink it and it dehydrates you and your heart rate goes faster and faster. Dr. Jerstad says the worst thing you could do in extremely hot conditions is to mix alcohol and energy drinks."
In high humidity and heat it's important to take lots of breaks, drink plenty of water and forget about not letting them see you sweat.