July 23, 2018 – Residents and visitors alike know that summer in
the Golden Isles is a beautiful and wonderful time of year. Warm weather
and sunny skies have families and athletes enjoying outdoor activities
such as swimming, boating, picnicking, biking or fishing. Southeast Georgia
Health System encourages the community to enjoy summer activities safely
by taking precautions to avoid some of the more dangerous hazards of the
season, such as heat illness.
“One of the earliest symptoms of heat illness is, of course, thirst,” says
Beau Sasser, M.D., medical director, Sports Medicine Program, Southeast Georgia Health System,
and board-certified orthopaedic surgeon,
Summit Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery. “Once you’re outside and become thirsty, you’re behind
the eight ball. Constant hydration while outside is important to prevent
The most effective treatment for heat-related illnesses is prevention.
A few tips to keep in mind while enjoying the outdoors this summer include:
Proper training for the heat. Whether the person in question is a teenage athlete conditioning for football
or a 65-year-old gardener tending the backyard, proper time for the body
to acclimate to the heat is necessary to prevent heat illness. Be sure
to enjoy the outdoors in increments, gradually increasing the time spent
outdoors each day.
Fluid replacement before, during and after exertion. Sixteen to 24 ounces of water or sports drink should be consumed one hour
before going outside, and four to eight ounces should be consumed every
15 to 20 minutes during outdoor activity. If the event is under an hour,
then water is sufficient. An exercise event that takes place longer than
one hour will require a sports drink low in sugar or Pedialyte to replenish
Early recognition of symptoms. There are many early, red flags of oncoming heat illness. The most common
of these symptoms include thirst, headaches, weakness, dizziness, dry
mouth and chills.
Get cool and get help. If you or a loved one experience any of these early symptoms of heat illness,
avoid the heat and find some shade. Get cool rapidly by cold-water immersion
or spray from a hose, and provide a cool beverage. If medical assistance
is needed, call quickly while continuing to provide cooling techniques.
“Be cognizant of the time spent outside and pay attention to any
symptoms you may experience,” advises Dr. Sasser. “If these
symptoms occur, get out of the heat with a cold drink—preferably
water, or better, a sports drink—until the symptoms subside. No
caffeine or alcohol. Sports drinks are preferable even to water because
they replenish electrolytes as well as hydrate.”
Talk with your physician to learn more about avoiding heat illness and
enjoying summer safely. To find a physician, call 855-ASK-SGHS (855-275-7447).
Summit Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery is a strategic affiliate
of the Health System.