Avera Medical Minute: Tips to beat the heat during the summer

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Outdoor plans still go on during the heat, so it's important to take care of yourself and others while you're out in the extreme temperatures. This past winter, many people were dreaming of warmer weather and getting outside. Fast forward to the summer heat, and stepping outside could feel like you're in a steam shower.

The extreme summer conditions can be dangerous for some workers, who have to be out in the heat. Ryan Kerkvliet is a manager with Black-Top Paving, a division of Journey Group in Sioux Falls. He adjusts working hours to get out of the worst part of the day.

"We adjust the hours, and we're trying not to work from 3:00 to 5:00 when it's super hot, and they've been in the heat most of the day already," he said.

Another tip is to monitor how you're feeling, and those in your care.

"If they notice they're getting a little light-headed or something, they let the superintendent know. We get them cooled off as best we can. We get them in a truck with AC to cool them down," Kerkvliet said.

If you do get overheated, Avera emergency medicine physician, Dr. Nate Johnson, said your body will first go into heat exhaustion.

"Your body starts to become more warm. It becomes anywhere up to 104 degrees in temperature. You start to have those cramps, the stomach pains, the headache, light-headedness," Dr. Johnson said.

Heatstroke is the second stage, and it could be deadly.

"Your body temperature generally gets above 104, and you start to develop neurologic symptoms. That's where you have the altered mentation, the potential for seizure. You may not act normal. You may not feel normal. You may not think normal, and that's where you really need to get cool very quickly, and that is a medical emergency," Dr. Johnson said.

It's important to be hydrated before you go outside, and ramp up the exertion. That includes kids' activities, like sports or marching band camp.

"It should be done in a graded fashion, where they have exercise or planned activities in short bursts, and then slowly expand the time and duration that they're under significant exertion to be able to let their body acclimate, and again with the hydration," Dr. Johnson said.

When sending your kids off to camp for the day, it's important that they have at least one thing with them.

"Water so that they have access continually throughout the day. When they feel thirsty, they have access to be able to rehydrate, helping to kind of educate if they are starting to feel warm to tell an adult, or tell their counselor," Dr. Johnson said.

Staying in the shade and wearing appropriate clothing will help you beat the heat, and perhaps a fun frosty snack to cool down as well.