Myths and Truths About Coping in Hot Weather

ByABC News
August 1, 2006, 3:24 PM

August 1, 2006 &#151;<p> -- True or False: Eating spicy foods will help cool you down.True, maybe.People from the hottest climates on the planet do tend to eat some of the spiciest cuisine. Think: Malaysian, Indian, Mexican. Spicy peppers season most equatorial food. Why? It's not just for the flavor. Eating a superspicy meal induces sweating, which may help you feel colder, said clinical nutritionist Diane Radler. However, drinking cold fluids -- and lots of them -- is the best way to prevent dehydration, she says.

True or False: Grab a sports drink to beat the heat. True, if you're an athlete, Radler says.Sports drinks are made for athletes who sweat a lot in hot weather. But most people don't need the special electrolyte balance, and the sugar in the drinks might make you feel thirstier. Be sure to avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. Your best bet is chilled water.

True or False: Don't worry about the medicines you normally take. False.According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, there are quite a few medications that can make it more difficult to control body temperature, from diuretics to beta blockers. Before spending a lot of time in the heat, be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about this possible side effect.

True or False: During a heat wave, Texans cope better than New Yorkers. True.After spending a lot of time in hot weather, people acclimate to it and find it less bothersome. This is why more people die in heat waves in Northern cities -- they simply aren't accustomed to blistering temperatures, the American Academy of Family Physicians reports.

True or False: If I'm still urinating, I have nothing to worry about. False. It's a common misconception that heat exhaustion and heat stroke are only serious when the kidneys stop producing urine. Waiting for that to happen can be a deadly mistake. Instead, be on the lookout for the early warning signs -- dizziness, exhaustion, confusion, lack of appetite, headache, and, of course, excessive thirst.

True or False: Dry heat is better than humid heat.