Prepare For The Heat

Do you like to be active when it’s hot out?  Then the Mayo Clinic offers some great information for you to consider in preventing heat-related illnesses, provides signs to watch out for and what to do if you experience symptoms:

Here are their tips for avoiding heat related illnesses:  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ00316/NSECTIONGROUP=2

When you exercise in hot weather, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Watch the temperature. Pay attention to weather forecasts and heat alerts. Know what the temperature is expected to be for the duration of your planned outdoor activity.
  • Get acclimated. If you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when you exercise in the heat. As your body adapts to the heat over the course of one to two weeks, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
  • Know your fitness level. If you’re unfit or new to exercise, be extra cautious when working out in the heat. Your body may have a lower tolerance to the heat. Reduce your exercise intensity and take frequent breaks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a key factor in heat illness. Help your body sweat and cool down by staying well hydrated with water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If you plan to exercise intensely or for longer than one hour, consider a sports drink instead of water. Sports drinks can replace the sodium, chloride and potassium you lose through sweating. Avoid  alcoholic drinks because they can actually promote fluid loss.
  • Dress appropriately. Lightweight, loosefitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat. If possible, wear a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoid midday sun. Exercise in the morning or evening, when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors. If possible, exercise in shady areas — or do a water workout in a pool.
  • Wear sunscreen. A sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself.
  • Have a backup plan. If you’re concerned about the heat or humidity, stay indoors. Work out at the gym, walk laps inside the mall or climb stairs inside an air-conditioned building.
  • Understand your medical risks. Certain medical conditions or medications can increase your risk of a heat-related illness. If you plan to exercise in the heat, talk to your doctor about precautions.

Signs and symptoms resemble those of shock and may include:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-heat-exhaustion/FA00020

  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Heavy sweating
  • Rapid, weak heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Cool, moist, pale skin
  • Low-grade fever
  • Heat cramps
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dark-colored urine

If you suspect heat exhaustion:

  • Get the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned location.
  • Lay the person down and elevate the legs and feet slightly.
  • Loosen or remove the person’s clothing.
  • Have the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine.
  • Cool the person by spraying or sponging with cool water and fanning.
  • Monitor the person carefully. Heat exhaustion can quickly become heatstroke.

Call 911 or emergency medical help if the person’s condition deteriorates, especially if fainting, confusion or seizures occur, or if fever of 104 F (40 C) or greater occurs with other symptoms.

Thank you Mayo Clinic for providing this valuable information for us to share!

Know your strengths and limitations and take precautions to be safe when you’re active outdoors in the heat!