Avoiding heat exhaustion as summer’s sizzle returns

Life & Health

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Jack Medford has been a biking aficionado since first moving to Fayetteville in 1996 for college. He said he’s experienced dehydration from the Arkansas summer heat, something that can be avoided by frequently drinking water.

“You kind of get the chills a little bit, and you feel like your tank is completely empty,” Medford said.

The first and most-important step in alleviating heat exhaustion is to cool off and hydrate, said Willie Watts, Fayetteville’s fire chief. While sports drinks can be a good choice when there isn’t an alternative, Watts said it’s better to just grab water.

“A lot of heat-related emergencies that we respond to are just simply folks who’ve overexhausted themselves working outside,” Watts said.

Medford said he bikes in every season, but he’s extremely cautious to stop for water when he can feel his body starting to show symptoms of heat exhaustion. These include a lack of sweat, goosebumps, heavy breathing, and dizziness.

Here is a look at the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. This graphic is from the National Weather Service.

“Constantly, I’m drinking water,” Medford said. “I probably drink more than most, so every 15-20 minutes, you need to be cognitive of your need to hydrate.”

This mindset allows Medford to safely and comfortably bike several times a week.

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