As athletes take to the outdoors during the sweltering summer months, or as families head to a fun day at the beach, a few people will inevitably suffer from heat-related illness.
Heat illness is a serious condition that can be prevented if you pay attention to the warning signs. Most common during the middle of the summer, heat illness can affect anyone who over exerts themselves under the sun, but the people most at risk include; overweight or large athletes, the elderly, children, and those who are poorly acclimated to the high temperatures.
Heat Illnesses can Include:
- Heat Cramps
- Characterized by involuntary muscle spasms, profuse sweating, normal pulse and respirations, possible dizziness.
- Heat Exhaustion
- Skin becomes cool and clammy, profuse sweating, dizzy or disoriented, breathing becomes rapid and shallow, and the pulse is weak.
- Heat Stroke
- Increased irritability followed by apathy, very disoriented and unsteady, pulse is strong and rapid, skin is hot and dry, blood pressure will drop convulsions, and possibly coma.
How to Avoid Head-Related Illnesses:
- Stay hydrated properly with water and diluted electrolyte drinks. When the body becomes dehydrated it loses its ability to properly cool itself.
- Make sure you acclimatize to your environment; if you spend all day indoors in a controlled environment you are more likely to suffer from heat related illness when you exercise outdoors in the heat.
- Remember to rehydrate after daily exercise; keep a weight chart that is measured both pre and post exercise so you know how much water you need to replace, eight ounces of water for every pound of body weight lost.
- Wear loose comfortable clothing; synthetics are best for wicking water from the skin.
- If you have a pre-existing health problem, ask your doctors advice before jumping into outdoor activities.
Always remember–stay hydrated, keep cool and you will enjoy the hot summer months.