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Published:  August 1, 2011

St. Luke's Community Emergency Centers Remind Houstonians of Summer Health Tips

With heat indices reaching triple digits, St. Luke’s Community Emergency Centers is reminding Houstonians of ways to keep you and your family healthy and safe during these record-breaking temperatures. 

The most common heat-related illness is dehydration which is caused by the loss of water and salts from the body.  Water plays an important role in nearly every major function in the body including regulating body temperature, carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells, removing waste, cushioning joints and protecting organs and tissues.  While there are many factors to determine the sufficient amount of water needed per day, it is recommended to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day to stay hydrated. 

“We’ve seen a fifty percent increase in heat related incidents compared to last summer.  Although these tips are considered common knowledge to most, they are easy to forget when we get caught up in our summer activities.  Before heading out for the day, make sure to plan accordingly so you and your family can enjoy the outdoors safely,” says Frank A. Redmond, MD, PhD, medical director, St. Luke’s Community Emergency Centers.

St. Luke’s medical experts recommend the following during the hottest days of summer:

  • Decrease or reschedule strenuous activity for cooler parts of the day.
  • Wear clothing that is light colored and loose fitting.
  • Increase carbohydrate intake and decrease protein intake.  Most people don’t realize that excessive protein intake can also cause dehydration.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. 
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine.
  • Do not use salt tablets.
  • Avoid direct exposure to the sun and take advantage of the shade. 

It is important to remember that children do not adjust to temperatures above 95 degrees as well as adults.  A child’s body surface, as a proportion of their overall weight, is much greater than adults.  This causes them to produce more heat during physical activity.  As they sweat less than adults, their ability to get rid of body heat is reduced.

If you experience symptoms of heat illness, such as cramps, nausea, headache or vomiting, take off as much clothing as possible, dampen your skin with cool or lukewarm water, drink  fluids and stay in the shade or air-conditioning.  You should see a doctor right away if you become confused, lose consciousness, vomit frequently, stop sweating or stop urinating. 

St. Luke’s Community Emergency Centers are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week.   To find a location nearest you, visit

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