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Drink Water To Survive The Heat!

2013 July 18

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By Lina Younes

As I was watching the news last night on the ongoing extreme weather conditions this summer, I was struck by something the reporter said. Did you know that heat waves are the most common cause of weather-related deaths in the United States? Did you know that heat waves have caused more deaths in this country than other extreme weather events (hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes) combined?

So, what is something we should do immediately to survive this extreme heat? Make sure that we drink plenty of water to stay hydrated!

The elderly, children and pregnant women are most susceptible to extreme temperatures. We should note that as part of the aging process, adults in their golden years tend to lose their sense of thirst. Thus, they are at a greater risk of dehydration and they are more vulnerable to environmental impacts.  On the other hand, children can easily become dehydrate during outdoor activities and they don’t recognize the symptoms of heatstroke. In children, what are some of these warning signs?

  • Decreased physical activity
  • Lack of tears when crying
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability and fussiness

If you don’t drink cool water regularly, dehydration can lead to heat stroke which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

What are some of the signs of heat stroke?

  • Skin is flushed, red and dry
  • Little or no sweating
  • Deep breathing
  • Dizziness, headache, and/or fatigue
  • Less urine is produced, of a dark yellowish color
  • Confusion, loss of consciousness
  • In adults, hallucinations and aggression

In addition to staying hydrated, stay in a cool place as much as possible.

How about people who have to work outdoors even during this extreme heat? They should try scheduling frequent rest periods with water breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas. They should dress appropriately with loose, light-weight clothing and light colors. They should wear wide brimmed hats and sunglasses.

So, remember to drink cool water often. Enjoy the summer and stay safe. Do you have any recommendations on how to survive the heat? We love to hear from you.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Miamo Lydie permalink
    July 19, 2013

    Hi Michelle. just from your concern for the environment, you are a great woman. you are worth more than our African leaders who spend time organizing conferences on what to do for the environment, which they already know but lack just the political will to implement all those decisions and save our polluted environment. They are only interested about their pay package and luxurious hotels where they are lodged the time of the conference.
    Dear Michelle, I am a fan of everything touching environmental protection, and I would like to set up a foundation in this line. I would like to ‘recycle’ street children by training and working with them in the production and sale of hand bags, dresses, furniture, jewelries handicraft… and any other things deriving from waste materials. i also wish to train them in fields like fashion design, hairdressing, building, agriculture…such that they will be able to save money and settle on their own, while contributing the sustainable development of their environment. My project is still at the conception stage, and I don’t know who to turn to in order to gather the fund necessary to finance it. can you help me please?

  2. Jan permalink
    September 27, 2013

    - In heat stroke due to dehydration and hence inability to sweat, the skin is dry, warm and flushed and the body temperature is above 40 or 41 °C (104-105.8 °F).
    - In exertional heat stroke, a person can sweat.
    - In heat exhaustion, the skin is pale, cool and sweaty and the body temperature is 37-40 °C (98.6-104 °F)
    - In a hot, windy day with dry air, you can sweat, but your skin can be completely dry, because the wind blows all the sweat away quickly.

  3. Ellen permalink
    March 5, 2014

    It’s not a joke when a person gets dehydrated especially during the summer months. As mentioned here the worst that can happen is to have a heat stroke. So it is really a must to drink plenty of water to keep oneself hydrated. Another problem during summer is the drying of the skin which may promote aging. Of course, there are other means of battling aging, more information on that.

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