SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A heat advisory is in place in parts of KELOLAND, as temperatures and humidity both climb. While most will be content to simply bump up the strength on their air conditioning, those who find themselves working or exercising outside, or without a means of cooling, could be at risk.
Mariah Reil, a registered dietitian with Sanford Health Plan helped to outline what it is that separates a hot day from a dangerously hot one.
“Obviously the rising temperatures,” said Reil “but also that ‘feels like’ temperature. That can pose a risk for us, not only for hydration, but also some of those more extreme conditions like heat stroke.”
Reil says humidity is really the biggest factor with driving that ‘feels like’ temperature up. At the time of writing, the temperature in Sioux Falls is 89 degrees Fahrenheit, but the addition of 64% humidity has that ‘feels like’ temperature clocking in at 100 degrees. “It feels kind of heavy, and it’s super super hot out,” Reil said.
When it comes to the real dangers of heat, dehydration is the big one. “The biggest thing is really hydration,” said Reil. “We are at a risk for losing more water during the day if we’re out and about when it’s this hot out.” Here, she is referring to fluid loss via sweat.
Reil pointed out that any fluid lost through sweating should be replaced by hydrating.
Beyond keeping hydrated, Reil says that remembering to eat is also important. “It can be really easy to not feel as hungry or as thirsty when our body’s trying to manage this high heat,” she said.
When it comes to those most vulnerable to the heat, Reil pointed first and foremost to the youngsters.
“I always think of children — even infants — those who can’t verbalize ‘hey I’m really hot; I’m thirsty.’ Those are the ones we want to pay attention to the most,” Reil said.
Reil said it’s important to keep breaks in mind for children, whether those are water breaks, or time inside out of the heat.
Besides children, Reil says that those with health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes can also face challenges, as the heat can exacerbate their conditions. “Those can play a really close role with hydration status,” she said.
In term of how you should hydrate, Reil says that for most of us, water will do just fine. “If you are someone who’s doing a lot of exercising — you might consider replacing those electrolytes.” This can be done with sports drinks and other electrolyte rich beverages.
What you should not drink, at least in terms of hydration, is alcohol. “You want to make sure that you’re replacing any serving of alcohol — the alcohol is going to cause a dehydration effect on our body,” said Reil. She also advises staying away from too much caffeine.
Beyond drinking, what you eat can also have an effect on hydration. Reil recommends foods with a high water content, including watermelon, cucumbers and strawberries.
Keep an eye on others when it’s extremely hot out, and watch for things like overly red complexion and lethargic behavior as signs someone may be overheating, said Reil.
Wondering if you’re hydrated enough? Reil says to pay attention when you make a stop in the bathroom. “Urine color is a really great indicator,” she explained. “We want it to be pale. If it’s really clear, you’re probably over-hydrated, and you can scale back. If it’s really dark, you want to increase that water consumption.”