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Bring the Heat: Summer Safety

Get ready for the summer heatwave!

A lot of athletes are excited for this time of year. You can finally shed your heavy winter coat and exercise in the sunlight, although everything isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Summer carries some unique risks that you don't usually have to worry about in cooler months. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can quickly become deadly if you don't recognize the signs. Keep these symptoms in mind when exercising or spending long periods of time outside this summer. 

HEAT EXHAUSTION

The precursor to heat stroke. This can usually be treated at home with little to no professional medical intervention.

SYMPTOMS: Weak pulse, headache, light headed, heavy sweating, nausea or vomiting, weakness of muscles or cramps, extreme thirst.

WHAT TO DO: Lie down. It's important to cool down, so try a cool shower or a compress, remove excess layers of clothing, and drink plenty of water or a sports drink. Avoid alcohol.

HEAT STROKE

A very serious medial emergency. Seek professional help immediately if you believe someone is suffering from heat stroke. It is likely that they are not in the right state of mind to know how much danger they are in.

SYMPTOMS: Headache, vomiting, delirium, no sweat, dry, hot, red skin, rapid, strong heart beat, body temperature is over 104 º F.

WHAT TO DO: Call emergency services. If possible, move the person to a cooler area, try to reduce body temperature by using cold compresses, do NOT give them fluids if the person is not alert or is vomiting.

BE ADVISED: This is not something that you can power through. If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately stop what you are doing and seek proper treatment.

KEEP IN MIND: 

 

  • According to the Center for Disease Control, on average 600 people a year die from heat related causes.

  • It takes about 2 weeks to adapt to sun exposure, which entails going outside for 2 hours a day during that time period.

  • Slowly extend the amount of time you spend outside. Make sure you have plenty of water and electrolyte dense drinks every 15 minutes or so, with some light meals.