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'Heat Dome' Continues to Throttle U.S.
Date:7/20/2011

lead to a loss of consciousness. The muscles can start to break down, which leads to kidney failure; this makes heat stroke a life-threatening illness," she said.

Though rare, heat stroke is most often seen in very young and elderly people, or people with a chronic illness.

The safest place to be during a heat wave is indoors -- if air conditioning is available, experts say. Remain in the air-conditioning as long as possible. And limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours when temperatures are relatively cooler.

Sanford offers the following advice:

  • Avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wear light-colored and lightweight clothing, a hat, and remember that 100 percent cotton clothing tends to hold sweat, making it harder for your body to cool off.
  • Thirst isn't always a good sign of hydration status. In children, the thirst mechanism isn't fully developed, and in seniors, the sense of thirst has diminished. By the time your brain signals thirst, you may have lost 1 percent of your body weight -- about 3 cups of sweat for a 150-pound person.
  • Urine color is an important indicator of hydration. A well-hydrated person's urine will be almost clear. Darker colors indicate less hydration. Not having to urinate at all after intense workouts is a warning sign of real dehydration.
  • If you exercise for less than 90 minutes at a time, cool water (40 degrees F) is all you need to replace fluids. You should drink about 16 ounces of water two hours before exercising, eight ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise, and then at least another 16 ounces after finishing. Drink until your thirst is quenched, and then drink even more to fully rehydrate.
  • Sports beverages are appropriate if you're exercising for more than 90 minutes. These beverages should be consumed only during exercise and not before, because they might trigger a hypoglycemic -- or low glucose -- effect, poten
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