Sauna safety

By Tiffany Blackmon - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – After a long day at work or the gym, the sauna can be a place to relax and unwind - but before you let off some steam you should exercise caution.

Dr. Jon Gray, a board certified Emergency Medical Physician with Lake Charles Memorial Hospital stated, "In adults, your body temperature can actually reach 105 degrees."

Gray says the same goes for steam baths and hot tubs. Serious bodily overheating can occur if you're at high risk.

High risk individuals include:

  • Those who are 65 years of age or older
  • Taking blood pressure medications
  • Have a heart or other medical condition

Children should either avoid or limit their exposure along with pregnant women, as it could lead to birth defects.

Prolonged exposure to such extreme heat can cause dehydration and prevent the body from cooling itself off. Healthy adults should limit their time in a sauna to 15 minutes, 12 minutes in a steam bath, and 10 minutes in a hot tub.

To avoid a trip to the emergency room, it's important to recognize the signs that indicate you should get out.

Dr. Gray stated, "If you're feeling light headed or dizzy, especially if you're going from a sitting to a standing position, headaches, any of those things should make you aware that you should get out."

If you feel fine after leaving the extreme heat, you should still exercise caution. Make sure you stay hydrated and don't shock your body by jumping into cool conditions like a pool.

No matter what the source of heat, Dr. Gray recommends that you first consult your physician. He also recommends to never go into a sauna, steam bath, or hot tub alone in case you encounter an emergency situation.

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