With the summer weather here in Cypress inching its way up from the 80s into the 90s, and likely soon into the triple digits, paying attention to your mouth could help you stay safe in the summer heat. Of course your mouth can’t prevent sunburn, and it’s your nose’s job to indicate that your sweat from the heat might be making you smell a little fresh. What your mouth can do is warn you of impending heat exhaustion, which can lead to heatstroke if not treated. So what are heat exhaustion and heatstroke?
Heat Exhaustion & Dry Mouth
When you’re playing or exercising in a hot environment, or experiencing lengthy sun exposure for any reason, your body can become dehydrated and develop heat exhaustion. Heat with high humidity increases the risk of heat exhaustion. The onset of symptoms tends to vary from patient to patient, but many people report noticing excessive thirst, dry mouth, and dry tongue before or in tandem with other symptoms. Don’t ignore your thirst! The other indicators of heat exhaustion are fever (not higher than 104 degrees Fahrenheit), nausea, cool and clammy skin, heavy sweating, muscle aches, weakness, dizziness, fainting, and slow heartbeat. If you or someone you love has these symptoms, please don’t delay! Seek medical attention immediately.
If heat exhaustion isn’t treated, it can lead to heatstroke. What essentially happens during heatstroke is the body’s system for cooling itself stops working, so temperature regulation ceases and body temperature rises. This condition is life threatening. Its symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, hot and dry skin, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and decreased urination. Heatstroke can cause multiple organs to fail. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone else, call 911! While help is on the way, the dispatcher or someone else on the emergency line will give you instructions for what to do in the meantime.
The best preventive measure for summer heat illnesses is staying hydrated. Make a conscious effort to drink plenty of fluids all day, but be especially vigilant when you’re outside. The goal is at least eight glasses of water each day! Depending on your level of activity and how long you’re outside, you might need to drink much more than that. Still drink even if you don’t feel thirsty because by the time feelings of thirst come on, you’re already on your way to dehydration. When you’re exercising in the heat, consider supplementing water with a sports drink (or a solution such as Pedialyte for children) to help maintain electrolyte balance. Do not consider alcohol consumption as hydration! It often does the opposite.
While this guide applies to everyone, our team at Fair Lakes Family Dentistry hopes you will be especially careful to make sure that your children and elderly get enough water. Pregnant women and those with chronic diseases are also at high risk. We wish you a fun, safe, and fully hydrated summer!