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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
It’s hard to believe that school will be starting soon. Although not in the classroom
yet, many students are already back at school with two a day practices for volleyball,
football, band and a variety of other extracurricular activities. While many may worry
about performing their best, they also need to take precautions to keep cool and hydrated
so the heat doesn’t sneak up on them.
A recent headline gripping the media noted that a former University of Arkansas and
New Your Giants football player died after suffering a heat-related illness at only
32 years old. While this was not sports related; it was heat related.
It is important to understand the symptoms of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat
stroke. In the Ark-La-Tex, the relative humidity stays around 40 percent while the
temperature usually climbs to around 100 degrees F. The combination of these two factors
makes the temperature seem like 110 degrees F. If you increase the environmental temperature
to 110 degrees F, then the temperature feels like 137 degrees F and heatstroke becomes
likely to occur.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion are dizziness, cold, clammy skin, nausea, and headaches.
The symptoms of heat stroke are high body temperature and dry skin, confusion, and
unconsciousness. People suffering from heatstroke will feel chilly and have tingling
arms and goose bumps. If you feel these symptoms, get out of the heat and seek immediate
medical treatment. Begin cooling down with ice baths or other means.
Please don’t ignore your body in this heat. Plan for your fluid intake before you
go outside. Too much exposure to the heat combined with dehydration could be fatal
for you or someone you love.
The first rule of protecting yourself against the heat is to drink plenty of water.
Most rely on thirst to tell them to drink, but if you wait until you’re thirsty, you
have already began to get dehydrated. Once dehydrated, drink until the thirst is quenched
and then drink a little more. This will re-hydrate you adequately. If you are active
in the heat, you should drink at least 10 to 12 eight-ounce cups of fluid a day. Most
active people lose more than 20 cups of fluid a day.
Be conscious about drinking enough water. Although we all know that water is essential,
stress the importance of water to both your child, coworkers, band directors and coaches.
To promote adequate hydration, drink two cups of fluid two hours before practice or
outdoor activities. Drinking a lot of water during outdoor activities, helps assure
you are drinking enough water to help your body. Many doctors say, if your urine is
clear or light yellow, you're probably doing fine. Larger volumes of fluid intake
during exercise are associated with greater cardiac output, greater skin blood flow,
lower core temperature and a reduced rating of perceived exertion.
When taking in fluids, only use water or sports drinks. Avoid caffeinated, highly
sweetened and carbonated beverages. These have the potential to dehydrate and contribute
to nausea. Water is great for the purpose of re-hydration, but sports drinks are designed
to make you want to drink more. Children will drink more sport drink than they will
water because it has more taste and contains salt, which will make them feel thirstier.
The USDA knows the importance of water in our health. Regardless of whether the water
you consume comes from the tap, a bottle or eaten in foods, it has important health
When we do not get enough water, it can lead to muscle spasm, renal dysfunction, increased
risk of bladder cancer, and even death. If plain water is not to your liking, drink
water infused with fruit or herbs. This is a smart way to hydrate without getting
overloaded with sugar and calories.
If the thought of plain water doesn’t appeal to you, infusing water with the essence
of fruits, herbs, and other botanicals may help you drink plenty of water without
the excess calories, sugars, and artificial flavorings. It's beneficial hydration
in every refreshing sip.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at email@example.com,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
By Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.