|Updated: 6/28/2012 8:56 am
||Published: 6/27/2012 5:52 pm
As difficult as it has been for most people to stay hydrated and healthy in the extreme heat plaguing Tulsa this week, when it's this hot even the professionals have a hard time staying hydrated.
Several Tulsa firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration at a fire in West Tulsa Thursday.
But unlike firefighters, most people don't really understand how much water it takes to stay hydrated.
As hard as it is to believe, experts say the average person can sweat out as much as a gallon of fluids in just two hours when temperatures top 100 degrees with high humidity.
And if you don't drink at least one 20oz bottle of water to pre-hydrate before heading out into the heat, you could be setting yourself up for some serious problem.
"That's a lot of sweat," Tulsan Nate Aman said. "I had no idea."
Aman goes jogging on the trails on Riverside Drive a few times a week, and does what he can to prepare his body when it's this hot out.
"Obviously, it sounds like I'm not doing enough," he said.
"I always try to drink half a gallon to a gallon of water everyday, anyway," Tulsan Denne Johnson said.
Johnson runs or rides her bike on the Riverside trail almost everyday. She said she always thought she did enough to prepare for the heat, and certainly more than most people.
"I don't think people know how much water they need to drink anyway, much less when there's heat," she said.
Johnson is right. EMSA medics have already treated close to 50 people of all ages for heat-related illnesses and dehydration this week.
"If you're not drinking enough water to make yourself go to the restroom about once an hour, you're not drinking enough water in this kind of heat," Chris Stevens, Public Information Officer for EMSA, said.
Stevens and other experts say it's also important to keep hydrating while you're outside to replenish all the fluids you're losing. They say you should drink about half a 20oz bottle of water every half hour while you're in the heat. That allows you to replenish fluids, while not drinking too much too fast for your body to handle.
Once you're in out of the heat, you should drink about half a gallon of water for every hour you spent outside. You should also drink at least 12oz of Gatorade or another sports drink to replenish electrolytes your body sweat out.
While it sounds like an overwhelming amount of water to drink, following these guidelines can save you from heat-related illnesses that can have permanent effects on your body.
Stevens said you should continue drinking even when you're not thirsty. In fact, if you do feel thirsty it means your body could already be reaching serious levels of dehydration.
Stevens said if you start feeling dizzy or light-headed, nauseous, your vision goes blurry, or you stop sweating while you're outside in the heat you should get inside to start cooling off and immediately call 911.