It’s going to be a hot summer with temperatures already in the 90’s in June. The weatherchannel.com has predicted above-average warmth is expected from the Southwest to the portions of the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast this summer. Many athletes can’t wait for the warmer weather to start exercising outside, but I’ve already seen people running and riding their bikes as early as 6:30am to avoid the afternoon high temperatures. Extreme heat can cause heat exhaustion. What are the signs of heat exhaustion? Dizziness, nausea, headache, heavy perspiration and an accelerated heartbeat are some of the symptoms you need to look out for. Heat exhaustion comes on suddenly and without adequate fluids your internal temperature could go as high as 104°F! If you feel any of the signs here are a few heat exhaustion treatments and how to prevent it from happening.
First things first…get out of the hot temperature. Go sit in the shade or find a place that is air conditioned and stay there until you feel better. How do you avoid a relapse if you are 2 miles from home? Be careful, even walking verses running in the sun can cause your heat exhaustion to return. Make sure you have had plenty of cold water or a sports drink to lower your internal temperature. (It might be a good idea to phone a friend to get back home.) If you are lucky enough to be close to an establishment use their restroom to apply cold water on your face, head and neck as this is another way to help bring your internal temperature back to normal. If they have a fan or a hand dryer that blows cool air stand in front of it when you’re wet. Your shirt can also act as a cooling device when the wind blows on the wet perspired material, so it is best to leave it on.
If you run, ride a bike or even golf in hot weather it may be a good idea to keep track of your weight before and after being exposed to extreme heat to see how much water weight you have lost. If you have lost weight you may be dehydrated and you should drink enough fluids until your urine runs clear. Alcohol is not a way to replenish your fluid as it actually dehydrates and can make heat exhaustion worse. Why? Alcohol acts as a diuretic causing a person to urinate more often flushing the body’s much-needed fluids from tissues through the kidneys drying out your system. Even beer can cause dehydration, even though it’s 90-95% water. Did you know that there is a Spanish study that was deciphered by many to show that beer hydrates better after a work¬out than water? They determined that the beer drinkers had “slightly better” rehydration effects, which researchers attribute to sugars, salts, and carbonation in beer enhancing the body’s ability to absorb water. The carbohydrates in beer also help refill calories lost when working out. The best beers to drink after a hike or round of golf are those with 2% alcohol or less. So which beers are on that list? Bitburger Drive, Clausthaler, Coors NA, O’Doul’s Amber, St. Pauli Girl NA, Buckler by Heineken and Warsteiner Premium Fresh. Close second are; Bud 55 with 2.4%, Carlsburg Light with 2.7%, Lindeman’s Pecheresse has 2.5%, Molson Light 2.4%, MGD 64 has 2.8% and Pabst Extra Light Low Alcohol 2.2%. Drinking a glass or two of water before celebrating that great round of golf you just played will do your body good. Now the worst beer you can drink is Schorsch Bock 43 if rehydrating is an issue. The 43 in the name is there for a reason, it is 43% alcohol!
Watch the medication you are taking, because diuretics, blood pressure drugs and over-the-counter medications for allergies or cold symptoms can actually decrease your body’s ability to regulate its temperature increasing your risk of heat exhaustion. If you do take any of these medications it may be advisable to work out indoors. It is also recommended to train indoors if you have had heat exhaustion up to a week to avoid a relapse. Once the week is over give your body time to adjust to the heat again by working up to your normal routine; such as golf 9 holes instead of 18, run 1 mile out doors and 4 on the treadmill or stay outside ½ hour the first day hour the next etc. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before an exhausting workout in the heat. With sleep deprivation you are more likely to become week and easily susceptible to heat exhaustion. Try to get at least 7-8 hours each night.
Don’t confuse heat exhaustion with heatstroke as the latter is potentially a dangerous condition and you can get it by ignoring the symptoms discussed above. Usually if you treat your heat exhaustion right away the symptoms should subside within 30 minutes, if not, go to the ER STAT!
If you feel dizzy you may want to lie down and fall asleep in attempt to get over feeling faint or lightheaded. Sleeping does not make heat exhaustion worse but it does prevent the person from treating themselves and without treatment further complications may develop, like heatstroke. Heatstroke can cause permanent damage or death. If you are alone, fight the urge to sleep until you can get out of the heat and get hydrated. These two things are very important to lower your body temperature. Once the danger of heat exhaustion is removed your body will need to rest and at this point sleep is the best thing you can do for yourself.
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