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Hydration key to hiking safety during hot summer months, experts say

Posted at 8:33 PM, Jun 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-22 22:33:03-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah - The death of a Japanese man at the Grand Canyon on Friday has prompted a discussion preventing heat illness.

National Park Rangers say the 36-year-old man collapsed during a hike in the main canyon during triple-digit temperatures. The man’s group tried to revive him, but he died before rescue crews got to their location.

This week in St. George, temperatures are forecast to remain in the hundreds, peaking on Saturday at 111 degrees. Dixie Regional Medical Center Live Well Center manager Trevor Smith said the high temperatures increases the risk of heat stroke.

“When it gets hot in the summer, often we get concerned with dehydration,” Smith said. “Often you’re dehydrated before you know it.”

Smith said it’s a major concern for those out recreating. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, increased body temperature and decrease in sweat rate. In addition, heavy breathing and increase heart rate can indicate a problem.

“We should think about hydration in more of a preventative manner rather than waiting until we’re dehydrated,” Smith said.

The best thing to do is drink plenty of water. Smith recommends eight ounces of water with every meal, and adds water doesn’t always have to come from H20.

“A cucumber, 95 percent of it is water,” Smith said. “Watermelon, milk actually has 95-percent water content.”

Other safety tips include wearing light colored clothing, taking frequent rests in the shade and avoiding outdoor activity during peak hours.