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Wellness and Fitness

Heat Exhaustion: 3 Things to do Right Away

Normally the body cools itself by sweating, but when your body’s exposed to high temperatures for a long period of time and you don’t replace its fluids, you could end up overheating.

“Heat exhaustion is when somebody gets fatigued, more than they should be, for the level of activity,” Matthew Birkle MD, of TriHealth Priority Care, explains.

#1: Hydrate

Avoid chugging down lots of water at once, because this could lead to cramping. Instead, drink small sips, frequently.

#2: Find a Shaded, Cool Area – Pronto

In addition to finding a cool area, Dr. Birkle suggests finding a cool mist of water, if possible. “If you mist somebody, it cools the skin by evaporation, which is one of the most effective methods,” he explains.

Otherwise, seek a sheltered, cool area – ideally, an area with a light breeze – to stabilize your body’s temperature.

#3: Ice Your Wrist, Neck or Head

One of the best ways to bring your core body temperature down is through either placing an ice pack or a cool, wet rag on areas of your body where the circulation is closest to the surface of the skin, like your wrists and neck.

Similarly, “you lose most of your heat through your head. So if you moisturize your head, you know you’ll feel better because it evaporates heat significantly.” Dr. Birkle points out.

How Much Should I Hydrate for a Sporting Activity?

There’s not necessarily a clear-cut answer on how much you should drink to hydrate appropriately (it varies by weight and sweat rate); however, it's important to pay attention to your body so you can gauge, roughly, how much you should be drinking.

For example, if you know you are someone who sweats a lot, you'll want to drink at least 20 ounces of water beforehand and keep one or two 20-ounce water bottles with you to drink throughout the event.

On the other hand, it is possible to over-hydrate. If you drink too much water, it could lead to hyponatremia, a condition that occurs when the amount of sodium in the blood is lower than normal. Sodium is necessary for nerves, muscles and other body tissues to work properly.

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Find a TriHealth Doctor

Matthew Birkle MD
Emergency Medicine
Phone (513) 346-3399

TriHealth Priority Care
6139 Glenway Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45211

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