Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Working out in hot weather

Hello everyone!

In the northern half of the world, summer is upon us and that means for some people, it's time for it to get hot outside.  Lots of people like to go out and be active in the summer months but they may be unaware that it could be dangerous.

How hot is too hot? What should I do to keep myself safe?

I found a website that has some guidelines. 

  • Under 80 F (27 C). Most can usually be active outside without taking extra precautions. If you are overweight, have health problems, take medication, or drink alcohol, you may be at a higher risk for heat-related illness and should be more cautious. Children and the elderly are also at higher risk.
  • 80 F (27 C) to 85 F (29 C). Find shade, take regular breaks, and drink plenty of fluids.
  • 85 F (29 C) and 91 F (32.8 C).  Be very careful. Stay hydrated.
  • +91 F (32.8 C) Conditions are considered extremely dangerous.
  • WHEN IT’S HUMID: You should be careful even at lower temperatures. Humidity prevents sweat from evaporating from the skin at a quick enough rate, which can cause an increase in body temperature. Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are more likely to occur when humidity is above 70%, and temperature is above 70 degrees.
This is meant for outdoors, but I think it can apply to indoors too, particularly for those without air conditioning who work out at home.

Are you in danger?  Watch out for the following!

"Signs and symptoms to watch out for include: muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, and confusion.
If you develop any of these symptoms, stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat and sun. If possible, have someone stay with you who can keep an eye on your condition. Drink fluids — water or a sports drink.
Heat Cramps – Painful muscle contractions mainly affecting the calves, quads and abdominals. The area may feel firm to the touch. Stretching may be helpful as treatment. Getting enough potassium and salt will help prevent cramps.
Hyperthermia – Occurs with excessive heat exposure and dehydration when the body absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. Get out of the heat immediately and replenish with fluids. If your body temperature does not stabilize, seek medical attention. Hyperthermia can lead to heat stroke. If you’re caring for someone with hyperthermia and they lose consciousness, do not attempt to give them anything by mouth.
Heat Exhaustion – Your body temperature can stay normal or rise as high as 104 F (40 C). You may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, weakness and cold, clammy skin. Drink water, fan your body or wet it down with cool water. If you don’t feel better within 30 minutes, contact your doctor. Heat exhaustion can be a precursor to heat stroke if left untreated.
Heat Stroke – Heart rate and temperature will rise higher than 104 F (40 C). Skin will get hot and red, and you will stop sweating; the body stops itself from sweating in attempt to cool itself. Confusion,irritability, and loss of consciousness are possible. Seek immediate medical attention. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Once you’ve had heat stroke, you are at a higher risk of having heat related illness again. Consult a doctor before returning to exercise."    

I once had an experience with someone with heat stroke. He was very very hot, thought he was cold and wanted blankets on him, and his skin felt like someone cooked him in an oven.. Thankfully he recovered but the incident was very scary.

Also, keep your pets cool too.  Some breeds of dog, for example, overheat way easier than others (like pugs, bulldogs, any dog with black fur).  I actually had to give my miniature poodle (who has thick black hair) a complete shavedown because he started to act much less energetic and a lot more thirsty.  Make sure your pets have a lot of water too, bringing a bowl and a bottle with you if you must take your dog for an outing this summer.

Have a great summer and be safe!!!

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