Stay safe in the sun this holiday weekend

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Updated: 7/03/2014 6:43 pm
RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- While you are out celebrating Independence Day, it's important to remember that too much fun in the sun can be bad for your health, even dangerous.

"I'd say dehydration and then sunburns [are the biggest concerns]," said Dr. Justin Sonderegger.

Sonderegger is an emergency room physician at Northern Nevada Medical Center. He said wearing sunscreen and keeping it with you is vital during our high desert summers. "If you towel off or swim, then you probably need to reapply."

Even if you are not in the water, Sonderegger said you should be reapplying about every 60 to 90 minutes. The heat can get to you faster than you might think. "It can be life-threatening. Heat exhaustion is something that we do see people with. It can put you in the hospital. It can be fatal."

So avoid strenuous activity in the afternoon. "If you're going to go for a run, do it in the early morning or late in the evening when it's cooled down," Sonderegger said.

Even if you are just relaxing outdoors, dehydration is still a big concern. "You should be making sure you stay well hydrated [by] drinking water, or like Gatorade or Powerade," said Sonderegger. "Avoid alcohol because that will make you more dehydrated faster."

If you are confused, stop sweating or start vomiting, Sonderegger said you need to go to the emergency room, but he hopes you will stay hydrated and healthy. "We're here if you need us, but we really don't want to have to see you."

Sonderegger said you should always listen to your body. If you are feeling too hot, thirsty or dizzy, get out of the sun and get some water.

Heat exhaustion can happen in as little as an hour if you're young and healthy and even faster if you are older or have health problems.
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