At Brandywine, a great deal of work is performed outside in the elements by parts pullers, yard foremen, sales staff, etc. The Summer has just begun even though June had a record 19 days over 90 degrees already! Here re some tips to avoid heat exhaustion and overexposure while working or just being outside during extreme heat:
The higher temperatures associated with summer can quickly break down the body’s normal responses, causing fatigue, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stoke.
During heat illness, the body’s cooling system shuts down and the body temperatures rises. At first, the symptoms of heat exhaustion include thirst, fatigue and some cramping in the legs and abdomen. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can rapidly progress to heat stroke. These more serious symptoms include dizziness, headaches, nausea, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, decreased alertness and a high body temperature. In the most severe cases, internal organs may be damaged, and death may even occur.
The risk of heat illness increases during physical exertion, as well as when certain health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease are present. Certain medications, including antihistamines, and those taken for high blood pressure, and liver and kidney conditions also increase the risk as they interfere with your ability to sweat. People 65 and older and the very young are especially vulnerable.
While medical experts agree there is a lot you can do to treat heat related health problems, protection and prevention in the first place is always the best:
• Monitor weather forecasts on TV and radio. These reports describe hot and potentially dangerous weather in terms like ‘heat watch’, ‘heat warning’, ‘heat wave’, or ‘air-quality advisory’.
• Always wear a hat and avoid direct exposure to the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
• Remember to carry a water bottle, especially when travelling or exercising. Dehydration is among the most common heat-related dangers. Be sure to plan strenuous activity early in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.
• If you have a medical condition, such as diabetes, asthma, drug or food allergies, a heart condition, or are taking certain medications, you should wear MedicAlert identification. It informs others about your condition, and reminds you to take necessary precautions.
So, enjoy those long, lazy days of summer. Just remember to take extra care to protect yourself from the heat and follow the hydration tips below.
Keeping Hydrated in Summer Heat
We’ve all experienced it at some point when working out or on the field – fatigue sets in, your mouth feels dry and your legs are heavy. These are all common signs of dehydration.
When an athlete works out, body fluid is lost through sweat. If the fluid lost through sweat is not replaced, dehydration and early fatigue are unavoidable. Losing even 2% of body fluids (less than 3.5 pounds in a 180-pound athlete) can impair performance by increasing fatigue and affecting cognitive skills. Since many athletes lose between 5-8 pounds of sweat during a game, it’s easy for them to become dehydrated if they don’t drink enough to replace what is lost in sweat.
Dehydration can be prevented
When to drink: Drink before you get thirsty. By the time you’re thirsty you are already dehydrated, so it’s important to drink at regular intervals – especially when it is hot outside.
What to drink: Research shows that a lightly flavored beverage with a small amount of sodium encourages people to drink enough to stay hydrated. The combination of flavor and electrolytes in a sports drink like Gatorade provides one of the best choices to help you stay properly hydrated.
What not to drink: During activity, avoid drinks with high sugar content or carbonation because fruit juices, soft drinks and energy drinks are high in sugar which slows fluid absorption by the body.
Everybody have a safe and happy summer!