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VA Maryland Health Care System's Summer Health Tips
Date:6/15/2010

ave a diuretic effect, causing your body to lose water.

As a rule of thumb, be proactive about hydrating yourself to avoid the first and most common sign of dehydration: thirst. Drink before you venture out into the heat, during your activities (which includes sunbathing!) and after to constantly replenish your fluid stores.

2.   Avoid courting heat illnesses.

Heat illnesses such as heat exhaustion and life threatening heat stroke can develop well after becoming dehydrated and happens when the body’s cooling mechanism is overloaded and unable to regulate its temperature. Those most prone to heat illnesses are the elderly, children and infants, and people with high blood pressure.

How do I know if I’m developing a heat illness?

-   Symptoms: cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, muscle cramps, heavy perspiring, sometimes vomiting, weaknesses and dizziness, dry mouth and a headache are all symptoms of heat exhaustion. The more serious heat stroke can occur within 15 minutes of the first symptoms, which include very high body temperature, hot, dry, red skin, no sweating, dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, or loss of consciousness.

What do I do if I’m developing a heat illness?

-   Get out of the sun: Getting into a cool place, loosening clothing, drinking caffeine-free liquids, taking a cool shower, bath or sponge bath and resting can alleviate heat exhaustion but a heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call for medical assistance and try to cool down rapidly with cool water. Do not drink any fluids. Call a hospital emergency room for further instructions if medical assistance is delayed in responding.

3.   Protecting your skin from the sun’s UV radiation:

By now, everyone knows that sunscreen is a must. Few people use enough sunscreen, and not all sunscreens are created equal. Some may actually increase
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