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Q: How can I prevent heat illness?

Posted July 17, 2013 in Advice Column, Ankeny

A: When the temperature goes up, stay indoors in air-conditioned areas when possible. If you must go outside, take the following precautions:
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

• Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat or using an umbrella.

• Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more.

• Drink plenty of water before starting an outdoor activity. Drink extra water all day. Keep in mind that heat-related illnesses are not only caused by high temperatures and a loss of fluids, but also a lack of salt in the body. Some sports drinks can help replenish the salt in your body lost through sweating.

• Drink fewer beverages that contain caffeine (such as tea, coffee and soda) or alcohol.

• Schedule vigorous outdoor activities for cooler times of the day — before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.

• During an outdoor activity, take frequent breaks. Drink water or other fluids every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty. If you have clear, pale urine, you are probably drinking enough fluids. Dark-colored urine is an indication that you’re dehydrated.

• If you have a chronic medical problem, ask your doctor about how to deal with the heat, about drinking extra fluids and about your medicines.

Information provided Dr. Doug Layton, D.O., Family Physicians at Prairie Trail, 2515 S.W. State St., 964-6999.

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