When the weather heats up and the humidity kicks in, activity in local ER's typically ramps up too. Doctors in the Emergency Department at the Avera Heart Hospital want to make sure you take precautions to ensure the stiflingly heat doesn'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.
Dr. John Jerstad, Avera Heart Hospital's Emergency Department Director says, "When you get hot your natural defense is you lose fluids. When you become dehydrated your heart rate increases. Its natural compensation for dehydration is to speed up and there comes a point that it can only speed up so fast so your blood pressure becomes lower. You pass out and eventually die so dehydration and heat are serious illnesses."
The folks 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 you need to get to the ER."
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. Steer clear of energy drinks. They are loaded with caffeine and could exacerbate the problem in the heat. Dr. Jerstad says the worst thing you could do in extremely hot conditions is to mix alcohol and energy drinks.
Dr. Jerstad says, "The 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 rate goes faster."
In high humidity it's important to take breaks, drink plenty of water and remember it is okay to let 'em see you sweat.