Icy Slurry May Be Best Way to Hydrate in Extreme Heat: Study

An ice slurry/water mix is a good way to manage body heat while people work or exercise in hot conditions, a new study finds.

In experiments with volunteers, researchers compared the effectiveness of the ice slurry/water mix with regular water in controlling body heat.

The mix was more effective than water and only half as much was needed, according to the study.

“While the common approach to managing health in hot environments centers around maintaining hydration, limited attention is devoted to managing heat production from hard work or play,” said lead investigator Brent Ruby. He is director of the Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism at the University of Montana in Missoula.

As the temperature rises, so does the need for fluid to maintain blood and sweat volume to keep the body cool through “evaporative cooling (good old-fashioned sweating),” Ruby noted.

Previous research has suggested that cold water may be a better way to hydrate. The new study indicates that the water’s temperature may be as important as the amount of water.

Using an ice slurry/water mix means people working or exercising in extreme heat may be able to carry less water, according to the report published in the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine.

“Military training and operations, wildland fire suppression, and varied athletic/recreational pursuits require people to work or exercise in hot environments for extended periods of time. These activities also mandate the self-transport or frequent resupply of fluid to sustain performance for the duration of the work shift or event,” Ruby said in a journal news release.

“For these individuals, the weight of fluid that must be carried increases the metabolic demand and subsequent heat production, posing hindrances to completing the job or event,” he said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on extreme heat.

Source: HealthDay

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