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Altoona, IA
3770 8th St. SW
(515) 645-9905

Johnston, IA
8779 Northpark Drive
(515) 333-5090

West Des Moines, IA
640 S. 50th St., Ste. 1100
(515) 471-1860

Keep Your Family Healthy This Summer

In summertime, as they say, the livin’ is easy. But it can also be really, really hot. That’s why heat exhaustion and heat stroke are among the biggest summer dangers.

Know the signs

Watch yourself and your family for the warning signs. Early symptoms of heat exhaustion include lightheadedness and nausea. That’s an immediate clue to get out of the sun, go somewhere cool, and drink lots of fluids.

Sports drinks such as Gatorade do seem to be effective (even more so than water) because they have a scientifically developed amount of glucose to help speed the absorption of fluids. They also replenish minerals you lose when you sweat. Avoid highly caffeinated drinks such as Red Bull or Jolt, however, because the caffeine acts as a diuretic.

The second stage of heat exhaustion is vomiting. At that point, you need to seek medical attention, either through the emergency room or a walk-in clinic. In the most serious stage (heat stroke), body temperature rises, and the level of consciousness declines. An immediate call to 911 should be placed for anyone in this very dangerous condition.

Watch the baby

Keep a close eye on babies in the heat. Infants are highly vulnerable to temperature extremes because their heat regulation systems aren’t fully developed. So while an adult may just feel uncomfortable, a baby can get dangerously hot very quickly.

Monitor how your baby is doing in the heat (even in the car or in a stroller), and make sure she or he gets plenty of fluids. Since babies can’t tell us how they’re feeling, it’s important to check on them frequently for signs of overheating or dehydration.

Stay hydrated

People of all ages should make sure to drink plenty of fluids when they’re out in the heat. (And no, a cold beer doesn’t count. Alcohol also acts as a diuretic.) Stay ahead of the game by drinking water or sports drinks even when you’re not thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already partially dehydrated.


So have fun this summer. Just stay aware of the heat and your family’s reaction to it—so you can enjoy the summer weather and still avoid the doctor’s office.