Be prepared for extreme heat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

As the heat of summer intensifies, it’s important to stay properly hydrated, well fed and covered up when venturing outdoors for extended periods of time, said a physician at Baylor College of Medicine (
With predicted highs in the upper 90s, approaching 100 degrees over the long holiday weekend, extra caution is urged for people who will be involved in outdoor activities.
Dr. Steve Rosenbaum, assistant professor of medicine and section chief of general internal medicine at the Baylor Clinic (, offered tips on how to prepare your body to withstand the intense heat this summer.
What to drink
“If you are staying outdoors for just an hour, drinking water alone should be fine,” said Rosenbaum. “But if you stay longer, you will need to replace lost electrolytes. Mixing a little bit of premade sports drink into your water is a great way to do this.”
Rosenbaum said a good rule of thumb is one part sports drink to three parts water. “There is a lot of sugar in these sports drinks so you do not want to add too much.”
He advised using the premade (not powdered mix) sports drinks to ensure the proper combination.
What not to drink
“Avoid drinking any caffeine right before or while you are outside,” said Rosenbaum. “The caffeine causes even more dehydration and acts like a diuretic.”
Remember to eat
“Eating is important as well. Do not spend extended periods of time outside on an empty stomach,” said Rosenbaum. “You will need some fuel in your body to burn.”
What to wear
Rosenbaum said key items to wear while outdoors include hats and light clothing to cover up your skin.
Also, remember to lather on good sports sunblock. “SPF 30 and up works,” said Rosenbaum. “You’ll want the sports sunblock because it performs better against perspiration.”
When to avoid outdoor activities
In June, the heat of the day is between noon and 4 p.m., Rosenbaum said. In July and August, that expands to between 11 a.m. and about 6 p.m.
“We are not saying you should never go outside, but if you are running or walking for exercise, these are the best times to avoid,” he said.