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Healthbeat: Preventing Heat Exhaustion

Healthbeat

The signs of heat exhaustion can include dizziness, lightheadedness and nausea. But emergency room doctors say it’s not always that easy to detect it in children. So the best advice they give is to prevent getting dehydrated.

Dr. Shabana Walia, UT Health Emergency Room physician says heat exhaustion is the most common illness that comes into the ER every summer and she doesn’t want it to happen to you.

She says before you ever go outside, make sure you’re getting plenty of water every day. That looks like this: half your body weight in ounces. But don’t worry, that includes hydrating foods.

“About 20 percent of our daily intake of water actually comes from food,” Dr. Walia said.

These foods are all mostly made up of water, so they’re perfect summertime snacks.

“The most hydrating vegetable that you can eat is probably a cucumber that has about 91 percent water content. The most hydrating fruit is watermelon. That’s where the name comes from. Cantaloupe, Tomatoes, pineapple here all very water-rich and great snacks to bring along,” Dr. Walia said.

But if you start to feel dizzy, tired, and weak in the sun, the first thing you need to do is get to shade.

“I think if you just take a rest, remove any extra layers of clothing, sit underneath the fan and drink these two bottles of water over the course of 10 minutes, you should start to feel better,” Dr. Walia said.

Two water bottles in 10 minutes is about the magic number you need to get back on track to start feeling a little bit better.

Dr. Walia does not recommend drinking sports drinks to hydrate. She says those should be reserved for extreme athletes like marathoners who spend hours in the sun every day.

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