Summers in North Texas can be brutal. It is important to drink lots of water so you don’t fall victim to dehydration, or something more serious.
Brad Sellers, DO, emergency medicine physician on the Methodist Dallas medical staff, says he tends to see a spike in dehydration cases during the summer months. It often happens when someone spends an extended period of time outdoors, without properly hydrating.
“Many times they don’t realize that they’ve lost that much fluid,” he says. Your heart pumps blood through the body based off your blood pressure level. When you sweat, you start to lose the fluids necessary to help maintain your blood pressure. If your blood pressure drops too much, you can experience health-related issues.
Many people start to experience symptoms of dehydration before a medical emergency occurs. Dizziness, experiencing lightheadedness and feeling thirsty are all signs pointing toward too much heat exposure. If feelings of nausea start to develop, Dr. Sellers says you’re probably in the midst of heat exhaustion. After that, a person could experience heat stroke.
Heat stroke can cause someone to faint, or have a seizure. Calling 911 and asking for help from a medical professional would then become a necessity. However, all of us can take preventative measures to make sure a medical emergency doesn’t occur.
Year-round, you’re supposed to drink 8 glasses a water a day. Those who are exerting a lot of energy during the summer months, like who work or exercise outside, can also drink sports drinks with electrolytes to help stay hydrated.
It also helps to spend time outdoors when there isn’t a lot of sunlight. Get up early, or wait until the sun sets to do your outdoor activities. However, for some of us, it is unrealistic to schedule everything during those times of the day.
So if you do go outdoors in the extreme heat, wear protective clothing. Try to wear a hat and use a generous amount of sunscreen. Also, take breaks regularly. Use that time to rehydrate, and sit in the shade if you can.
Make sure you’re aware of your medical history before trying to battle the sun. Dr. Sellers says people who have a heart or a lung condition tend to experience dehydration much faster than those who don’t have those health concerns. This is also true for young children and the elderly.
Summer temperatures can cause you to sweat more often than usual, so dehydration is often a talking point during this time of the year. But, it’s important to note you can experience dehydration at any point during the year. To learn more about your susceptibility to dehydration, contact your primary care physician. Also, make it a priority to stay hydrated, and take breaks from the sun all year long.
If you are feeling dizzy, tired, thirsty, or experience a headache, there’s a good chance you’re dehydrated. Methodist has two urgent care centers, in Dallas and Mansfield. There’s no appointment needed, learn more here.