Hotter'N Hell: Water Intoxication

Hotter'N Hell: Water Intoxication

Dr. Keith Williamson, Hotter'N Hell's medical director, has been carrying around a regret since he first accepted the position twelve years ago.

"I jumped into it not really knowing what I was doing and somebody put the microphone in my face and said, what would be your advice to the riders today? I turned and I said, drink. Drink all you can and then drink some more," said Dr. Williamson.

But Dr. Williamson said,  that wasn't the best advice and he learned it the hard way.

"At the end of the day I was seeing people in the final medical tent who were confused, delirious, having seizures and sliding into comas," said the medical director.

He did some extended research and found out those bike riders were actually suffering from Hyponatremia. It's triggered when people don't have enough salt in their system and that could happen if you over-hydrate.

Williamson said, "They drink so much water they're water intoxicated. They dilute away the salt. They can actually gain wait over the course of a six to eight hour ride and they begin to swell up. Their hands get puffy."

So does the rest of the body. The risk of having Hyponatremia is even higher during athletic events because you release an anti-diuretic hormone that causes you to retain much more water. To prevent that, Williamson said you should drink only when you're thirsty.

"When you wake up, drink enough so you have clear urine and then drink when your body tells you to," said Williamson.

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6