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The importance of combating dehydration during the summer heat

Summer heat results in dehydration and heat exhaustion for many. As temperatures continue to rise, it's crucial to drink plenty of water to combat the heat.

ARKANSAS, USA — You've got a job to do and you're determined to get it done no matter what. You're determined to finish the task at hand. 

But, what if it's hot and humid? 

Dr. Gregory Whorton, primary care physician at CHI St. Vincent, knows the situation well and what could happen next if handled improperly. 

"If you get to a point where you're feeling nauseous or even a headache, then you're definitely getting into some trouble and need to get out of that heat as fast you can," Whorton said.

Dehydration is summer's cruel form of abuse. Children who are unaware of the dangers of the heat are at risk. Elderly people are also at risk.

As you get older and especially when you get up to your 70's or 80's, your skin changes a lot. The ability to cool via sweating is impaired. 

Medications could cause further complications.

"Elderly people are less able to sense thirst than a younger person, so they may not recognize symptoms of dehydration until it's further along than you'd like," he explained.

No matter the age, water should be the go-to to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion.

"You know, every 15-20 minutes you've got to be drinking fluids to keep yourself out of trouble," Whorton explained. 

Whorton describes fluids as water. Sport drinks can restore electrolytes after long periods, but according to Whorton, they aren't as effective as water.

"We don't really see any situations where we think a sport drink is superior to water," Whorton said. 

When temperatures are as high as they are, it's important to remember to drink a lot of water before going out.

The recommended level of water consumption according to age group area is as follows: 

  • Young children: 30 oz. of water per day.
  • Older children: 40-50 oz. of water per day.  
  • Adults: 65-100 ounces of water per day.