Staying safe in the heat

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Hot temperatures are making their way into KELOLAND, meaning an increased risk for heat exhaustion.

Doctors say being able to identify the symptoms could save you and your family.

Once a week for the past 6 years Lynne Peterson and her friends get together to play tennis. While she’s happy to get outside, Peterson doesn’t play if the weather gets too hot.

“I can’t do stuff in the really hot, hot weather and especially the humidity bothers me. If it’s drier it’s not so bad,” Lynne Peterson said.

As she gets older she can’t tolerate the heat as much. Avera Health emergency physician Dr. Alan Sazama says children and elderly are more prone to heat exposure, but says no one is immune.

“Heat exhaustion is more so, I describe it to people like the flu. You feel just kind of off, you know that’s easily reversible. You essentially can treat that by rest, getting out of the heat and drinking lots of fluid,” Sazama said.

If you do plan to exercise outside, doctors suggest getting out when temps aren’t the hottest, such as the morning or the evening.

“We start at 8 o’clock in the morning and so usually it’s not too hot,” Peterson said.

With a holiday weekend a little over a week away, Sazama says it’s ok to celebrate with adult beverages but do so safely.

“Alcohol can dehydrate you more. So in those periods where it’s really hot outside it can put you at little bit more risk to become dehydrated,” Sazama said.

He says it’s important to supplement alcohol and caffeine with water.

“None of us drink enough water. If you think about that, you divide your weight in about half then you know that’s the amount of ounces you should be drinking of water every day. So even on a day when you’re not in the heat losing sweat, things like that, most of us don’t drink enough water,” Sazama said.

While heat exhaustion may not always require a trip to the ER, he says a heat stroke can be deadly.

“Heat stroke is more when you start to see neurologic changes, so altered mental status, people can go comatose and even die. So if you’re starting to see your family member starting to act strangely, not making sense, that’s a sign that something more serious could be going on,” Sazama said.

If you’re concerned about your health in the heat, Sazama says doctors are available 24/7.

For more information on staying safe in the heat, click here.

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