Health Watch - The Summer Outdoors: Heat Illness

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about protecting your health while you enjoy summer outdoor activities. When you’re active in the heat, you need to beware of signs of heat illness.

Whether you’re involved in team sports or running around the backyard with friends, you need to stay hydrated and look out for danger signs. Dr. Robert Dimeff, medical director of the sports medicine program at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says you may be overheating if you’re dizzy or lightheaded, have a dry mouth, are nauseated, develop a headache, or have muscle twitching or weakness. Signs of a more serious condition include severe muscle cramps, loss of balance, confusion, disorientation or fainting.

If you notice these signs, stop your activity, get into the shade and drink fluids. In case of heat exhaustion, use wet towels or hoses to cool off the affected person, and get medical help if the symptoms persist.

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July 2010


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