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Healthwise: Heat Strokes and Dehydration

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

June 20, 2012

From hanging out at the pool to an afternoon run, if you’re planning to spend an extended amount of time under the sun, you could be putting yourself at risk for dehydration or heat stroke.

“It is particular in high humidity because that makes you sweat more. Even an 80 degree day can cause dehydration,” said Dr. David Mahoney of the Charlottesville Wellness Center.

There’s one major difference between dehydration and heat stroke: the lack of sweating.

“With heat stroke, your body just doesn’t have enough water to cool itself off,” said Dr. Mahoney.

Dr. Mahoney says having a heat stroke or extreme dehydration can be dangerous, even fatal.

“Your body can't cool itself off. You develop a high fever and any fever over 103 to 104 degrees should require the person to go the emergency room immediately for a fluids and rehydration,” said Dr. Mahoney.

A heat stroke is the kind of condition that Dr. Mahoney says often happens instantly.

“All of a sudden you're functioning just fine and it can all of a sudden just sneak up on you and before you know it you're dizzy, running a fever of 104 degrees, and you're confused or incredibly fatigued,” said Dr. Mahoney.

That’s why Dr. Mahoney says it’s important to drink plenty of fluids and recommends choosing water over caffeinated drinks.

“Caffeine is what’s called a diuretic and diuretic increases your urine output and increasing your urine just dehydrates you even more,” said Dr. Mahoney.

The next time you’re out at the pool or doing yard work, just remember a few extra sips of water could keep you from taking a trip to the Emergency Room.

Dr. Mahoney also suggests drinking water before, during, and after outdoor activity.


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