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Your Healthy Family: Warning signs of dehydration and heat stroke

Posted at 10:14 AM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 12:18:58-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — With temperatures staying hot in southern Colorado, we're reminding you again about the importance of staying safe in the heat.

Enjoying the outdoors is a basic part of Colorado living year-round. But when it’s this hot, Dr. Ian Tullberg with UCHealth Memorial Hospital urges people to consider exercising earlier in the day.

“You need to switch your routine up depending on what the weather is like. I get up and get out in the morning at 6:30 or so for my run and then I go to work.”

Even if you are in good health, extended activity outside in hot weather can take its toll, says Dr. Tullberg. “It's really a big spectrum between dehydration and heatstroke.”

On the lower end of the spectrum is becoming dehydrated. Dr. Tullberg explains that if you have been in the heat and begin to feel overheated, develop a headache or feel dizzy - get out of the sun and drink plenty of water. You should rest until you feel better.

Ignoring the early signs of dehydration can lead to more serious health issues including heat stroke, which can be deadly.

Those symptoms to look out for include: severe headache, dizziness, and being light-headed. See immediate medical help if you stop sweating in the heat, or if your skin becomes red, hot, and dry or you experience muscle weakness, cramps, nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat or rapid shallow breathing.

Dr. Tullberg also emphasizes that if you become confused or disoriented, or you notice you have stopped urinating it’s important to seek medical attention right away.

“You can start having organ failure (at that point) so your kidneys can shut down if they don't get enough water going through.”

Finally, Dr. Tullberg also recommends if you know you are going to be out in the heat, be proactive and drink lots of water. Also have something salty as well to keep your blood sodium levels up.

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