Iowa’s getting this summer’s first real dose of heat and humidity and a Cedar Rapids doctor has some tips for beating the heat. Mark Pospisil, an E-R doc at Mercy Hospital in Cedar Rapids, says your body has to work overtime to keep your temperature at 98-point-six, so drink plenty of water.
“The big thing is to keep well-hydrated. People recommend that if you’re outside to drink at least a liter of fluids an hour,” Pospisil says. “That should be fluid that doesn’t have caffeine in it, doesn’t have alcohol in it.”
If you don’t drink enough water and you’re in the heat, your body can begin to suffer from heat exhaustion. Here’s a list of the symptoms: Feeling weak, faint or dizzy; cold, clammy skin; a dry tongue; severe muscle fatigue; loss of appetite; and profuse sweating.
“Get ’em into the cool and into air conditioning,” the doctor recommends. “Help them hydrate and…encourage them to drink fluids.” In some cases, heat exhaustion can become more serious and lead to heat stroke. Many of the symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion, but with heat stroke, you’ll actually stop sweating, preventing your body from cooling itself off.
Dr. Pospicil says some heat stroke victims vomit or get confused and when that happens, it’s quite serious. He also says at that point, your body can reach 104 degrees or more. That will land you in the emergency room. “So we begin a cooling process with fans and with ice packs and with cold IV fluids,” he says.
Pospicil doesn’t want to see patients in that state. “The big thing is hydrating. If you stop sweating, that’s a danger sign. You need to get into the cool. You need to drink lots of fluids,” the doctor says. His last word of advice on how to beat the heat that’s predicted this weekend: “Air conditioning’s a wonderful thing.”