Keeping cool in oppressive heat
Dr. Martin Brown, Inova Alexandria Hospital
Meghin Moore, special to wtop.com
WASHINGTON - When the weather gets hot, the risk of getting a heat-related illness rises. Dr. Martin Brown, from the Inova Alexandria Hospital, says this week's heat has been oppressive, but there are ways to combat it.
"It's critical that people stay out of the heat as much as possible, to stay in cool areas, wear light colored clothing and loose-fitting clothing. Things like that are very important. Most importantly, stay hydrated. Water is fine, but excessive water can be a problem, so sports drinks can help," Brown told WTOP this morning.
In heat like this, it is also best to avoid drinking any beverages that are caffeinated, including sodas such as Mountain Dew. It's also best to avoid drinking alcohol and eating heavy meals. They can make heat-related illnesses much worse. Instead, if people are outside working or exercising for an extended period of time, try mixing sports drinks with water.
Dr. Brown also stressed how important it was to recognize the signs of a heat-related illness so that people can get help right away. Heat exhaustion can progress into heat stroke, which shares many of the same symptoms, but are more severe.
"You stop sweating, your body fails to remove the heat, your temperature goes up and causes a very critical medical condition," Brown says.
If people do plan to work or exercise outside, keep these things in mind:
- Try to plan activities early in the morning or later in the evening. Avoid the mid-afternoon when heat is at its peak.
- Wear loose fitting, light-colored clothing.
- Avoid wearing clothes that hold the sweat in.
- Stay hydrated and don't rely on thirst because it is not a good indicator of dehydration.
- Take a break from being out in the sun once in a while.
Follow WTOP on Twitter.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
A new reality show brings cameras into the workplace.
"Jenny from the Block" wants you to buy Verizon phones from her.
This cutie needs a new home. She's WTOP's Pet of the Week.
Robin Roberts will write a memoir about her struggle with illness.