Avoiding heat illness, stroke means listening to your body’s warning signs

COLUMBUS, Ga — This time of year, the intense summer heat can make even the strongest and most athletic of us susceptible to heat illness.  With that in mind, all of us need to listen to our bodies to avoid overheating.

Getting too hot outside can cause death in extreme cases.

If you start to feel thirsty, you already have been too long without water. Keeping hydrated is very important. Drinking a generous amount of water before you start outdoor activities is a good idea, as well as continuing to hydrate while outside.  You should avoid drinking sodas and energy drinks while working in the heat.

Also, take frequent breaks to allow your body to cool down. When a heat stroke occurs, the body has overheated and a person’s mental functions have become impaired.

Symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and increased heartbeat indicate heat fatigue. It’s critical that you stop working and rest when your body signals you need it.

“Because if you don’t, then, of course, you will have irreversible brain damage from the high heat. So, that’s in extreme emergencies. We have had that happen with citizens here in Columbus. Because they go from the point where they start having some symptoms and they ignore [those symptoms],” says Captain Paula Carter with the Columbus Fire and EMS.

Under normal conditions, medical experts say we should drink close to a gallon of water a day.

If you don’t replenish yourself with water during the summer, you put your body in extra stress. For every 30 minutes of work you do outside, Captain Carter says you need about ten to fifteen minutes of break time in a cool area to recover.

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