Don't let the heat defeat you

As the mercury rises across the country, many people venture into oppressive heat without taking any precautions.

The result: heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion and sometimes even a trip to the emergency room.

An emerging trend, emergency physicians say, is more weekend warriors extending themselves and getting into trouble.

“In the past, the typical people we saw were the ones who couldn’t fend for themselves – the very young and the very old,” said Dr. Paul Pepe, chief of emergency medicine at
UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Now, young men and women who work in super-cool office environments and spend the weekends playing outdoors are getting into trouble because their bodies haven’t had a chance to adapt to the hot weather.”

The trick to safely playing or exercising in the heat is to stay cool and hydrated. Dr. Pepe offers these tips:

• Wear lightweight, loose-fitting and light-colored clothing;
• Stay in a well-ventilated area, even if you’re indoors;
• Water, water, water. Too much sugar and caffeine is not good if you’re outdoors;
• Avoid alcohol – a cool beverage might sound good but it only dehydrates you more and impairs your ability to recognize danger signs; and
• Use a buddy system so that you can keep an eye on each other.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/emergency to learn more about clinical services for emergency medicine at UT Southwestern.

Media Contact: Connie Piloto

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