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How to avoid deadly heat injuries

It doesn't have to be blazing hot for you to get very sick

SAN ANTONIO — Summer is a big time for outdoor activities but it is also prime time for heat injuries that can be deadly.

Heat injuries can sneak up on you, and it doesn't have to be blazing hot to get sick. "Really, the humidity has a factor. Sometimes the ozone can play into it. But all of that to say people really need to be careful this summer when they're outside doing any activity and doesn't have to be just sports," said Dr. Katherine Bartush with UT Health San Antonio Sports Medicine

It could even be doing something simple like yard work. Staying hydrated is a must. Dr. Bartush told us, "We do like an electrolyte replacement drink, which basically replaces what you are losing and that has some salt and some sugar. And so we like something like a Gatorade or Powerade in moderation. Sometimes you ask people to dilute that with water about a 50/50 mixture."

One way to tell your hydration status is the color of your urine. For example, if your urine is very clear, it may indicate that you are very well hydrated. And as your urine increases in its color or turns more yellow, then that could indicate that you need to take in more fluid. Dr. Bartush added, "Our favorite hydration fluid is water."

Other symptoms of a heat illness include heavy sweating, muscle cramping, cold clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, and confusion. "If you experience any of these symptoms, get into a cool, dry area and then certainly seek medical attention. If you have symptoms that persist even though you come in from the heat, if something lasts longer than an hour and if it is worsening in nature," said Dr. Bartush.

For more information about heat injuries or to schedule an appointment, call 210-450-9300 or visit UTHealthcare.org.