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Heat Exhaustion – Know Your Symptoms

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It’s what we’ve been waiting for: SUMMER!! But, in our excitement to get outside, sometimes we can stay too long at the party and thereby put ourselves at serious risk for heat related illnesses.  Here are some ways to prevent, treat and beat the heat.

Prevention

Try and avoid doing your exercises during the hottest parts of the day. If you can, get up a little early and go for a morning jog or a brisk walk after dinner. Invest in clothing that is specially designed to wick moisture away from your skin to the outer layers of the clothes to help sweat evaporate more efficiently. Also, (and this is very important) wear sunscreen. Sunburned skin does not sweat like it should. It’s also a good idea to keep kids and pets inside when it gets super hot. Kids aren’t going to tell you they don’t want to play outside and pets can’t tell you what’s wrong. Make sure to keep an eye on the elderly as well. They are very prone to heat stress. Whatever you do, DO NOT leave your animals in the car. Even if you crack the window, it still gets very hot inside.

Be Aware

Our body is designed to cool itself by sweating and sometimes when we get too hot, our built in A/C systems break down. Heat exhaustion happens when you become dehydrated and stop sweating. Usually when we’re dehydrated, we feel thirsty, but by the time you feel thirsty, it’s already too late and that’s bad. Some symptoms of heat exhaustion include: clammy skin, disorientation, dizziness, fast but weak pulse, fainting, headache and muscle cramps.

Treatment

If you experience these symptoms, you’re urged to stop what you’re doing and immediately seek shade, or, better yet, get to a temperature controlled environment. Drink plenty of cold, non alcoholic beverages. As good as UV Blue Vodka and Black Cherry Fresca over ice tastes, save that for the patio parties because water is best, but if the neighborhood kids set up a lemonade or Kool-Aid stand, don’t hesitate to stop and grab a glass or two. Experts also say to remove extra clothing and take a cool shower or bath. If symptoms are more severe, like hallucinations or seizure, call 911 immediately.

If you work out (even in an air conditioned gym) or play tennis like I do, it’s good to acclimate yourself to higher temperatures to get your body used to playing when it’s hot. It’s also very important to stay hydrated. Plain old water is best, but when it gets REALLY hot, make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after activities to replace lost elements like sodium, magnesium, and potassium. I’m a big fan of an ice cold Powerade Zero to replenish my body. Bananas also help with muscle cramps.

For more prevention tips and tricks, click here.

Dressing for the warm weather is also a bit tricky, click here for warm weather fashion tips.

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