It seems like the whole country is battling a heat wave – and it’s not over yet. With the temperature expected to hit 96 degrees on Thursday and feel like 105 degrees here in CT, it makes you wonder what you can do to stay safe?
We ended up in the emergency room after baseball practice a few weeks ago with my son. It was a very hot spell (not sure if it was during an actual heat wave or not), and he was dehydrated. Since then, we have obviously been taking a lot of precautions to be sure it doesn’t happen again.
I am not claiming to be any type of medical professional, nor am I attempting to give medical advice to anyone, but in the hopes that you or your family don’t suffer the same fate, here are some tips and tricks we have learned along the way.
Symptoms of Dehydration (per the Mayo Clinic)
Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:
Dry, sticky mouth
Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
Decreased urine output — no wet diapers for three hours for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
Few or no tears when crying
Dizziness or lightheaded
Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:
Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
Lack of sweating
Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber
Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head
Low blood pressure
No tears when crying
In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
Tips and Tricks to avoid getting dehydrated:
You need to hydrate well BEFORE you participate in any demanding physical activity. If you will be out in the heat and will be active, you really need to start hydrating that whole day – and possibly start the day before if you will be active for an extended period of time.
Before exercising, drink 1 to 3 cups of fluid – water is best. And continue to drink fluids regularly during, and even after, the activity.
Eating lots of water based fruits – like watermelon – counts toward your fluid intake during the day. Avoid soda and caffeine based drinks.
It’s important to eat well before you are active. We have found that eating protein helps my son feel the best during his sports. We have been known to grill chicken breast in the morning so he can eat it for breakfast before baseball. His teammate told me that he had lamb chops for breakfast the other day before their ‘big game’. He said he would have had mashed potatoes to go along with his lamb but his mom didn’t have time to cook them in the morning! Like it’s not hard enough to get a well-balanced dinner on the table each night – now we need to do it in the morning too??? J
If you are very thirsty while participating in an activity, you may already be dehydrated. You need to start consuming liquids right away. If you are dizzy (lightheaded) or you have a headache, you should try to drink Gatorade or even better, Pedialyte, to get the electrolytes back in your system quickly. Pedialyte has less sugar than Gatorade, and more sodium. WORD OF WARNING – Please don’t take my advice on this to be the final word… please check this out with your doctor before you start feeding your kids Pedialyte before they head out the door to play. What I have read seems to indicate that this is meant for the most serious of athletes, or folks actually experiencing dehydration.
If possible, postpone your activities until it is cooler outside. I actually saw a few people running yesterday in the hottest part of the day. I know folks are loyal to their exercise program, but really? There must be some other alternative….
Swimming in pools, lakes or the ocean can easily dehydrate folks. While playing in the water, folks tend to drink less than they should and they risk getting dehydrated in the process – physical activity, high temperatures and less access to beverages is the recipe for dehydrating your body.
Stay cool everyone – and stay safe out there!
Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com
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