Have You Spent Too Much Time in the Heat?
By Sara Butler
We are well through the dog days of summer – it’s hot out! Because of this, you have to be careful about how much time you spend outside because the threat of heat exhaustion and heat stroke is real. When you spend too much time in the heat, your body may lose its ability to regulate heat, upping the risk of heat-related illness. If you like to exercise or work outside, then you need to familiarize yourself with these signs that you might be in the danger zone and should cool off immediately!
Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion?
First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke. When you have heat exhaustion, the body’s temperature is normally less than 104 degrees Fahrenheit but the blood pressure may be low and the heart isn’t pumping blood as well as it should.
During heat exhaustion, you’ll feel tired and you’ll be sweating a lot but your body is still doing the things it needs to in order to keep you out of the danger zone. Heat exhaustion doesn’t have to lead to heat stroke, but it can.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency, occurring when the temperature of the body rises over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This can cause your central nervous system to go haywire and can potentially lead to damage of your internal organs.
The Warning Signs
When you’re exercising outside or working, keep the warning signs of heat illness in mind. If you begin to experience any of these, then you need to cool off as soon as possible:
- Stomach cramping
It’s always best to assume when you’re outside and experiencing these symptoms, and then you’re starting to have issues with heat illness, to take a break, have some water, and wait until you’re feeling better to continue.
Heavy Sweating and Thirst
When you sweat a lot, it means your body is producing a lot of heat. When it’s humid outside, it can be even more dangerous since the sweat can’t evaporate from your skin to cool you. When you combine heavy sweating with feeling thirsty, then it’s a sign you’re losing water. Make sure to drink water frequently when you’re outside on hot days.
Dizziness or Weakness
Heat exhaustion can make you feel dizzy – you might even pass out for a moment. If this happens, then stop what you’re doing immediately and cool off. When you’re doing a strenuous exercise outside, it doesn’t even need to be that hot in order to cause heat-related illness, so make sure you pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.
Take care of yourself when you're being active outside!
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Downey, Calif.