Stasi: Avoid the summer heat

Published 9:04 am Tuesday, June 28, 2016

We have had only a few days of extreme heat. Living in Minnesota where the temperature can be extreme throughout the year; you need to use precautions when you exercise outdoors especially when the thermometer does rise.

Heat-related emergencies are experienced by thousands of people each year and heat stroke is the second-leading cause of death among athletes.

Three heat illnesses that everyone should be aware of are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Heat cramps is the most common and is characterized by slow, painful spasms, which can last one to three minutes. These occur in the exercising muscles due to an excessive loss of fluids and/or electrolytes.

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If not rehydrated and rested, heat cramps can progress to heat exhaustion, which is the inability to continue exercise. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, pale, moist skin; heavy sweating; nausea; headache; and dizziness. If you are experiencing these symptoms quit the exercise, rehydrate and cool the body. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to heat stroke, the most dangerous heat emergency.

Heat stroke has a death rate of nearly 50 percent. Signs of heat stroke are profuse sweating, or the skin may appear red, hot and dry; vomiting; a rapid pulse; and decreased alertness or complete loss of consciousness.

Ways to beat the heat are as follows: if exercising outside try to do so before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Allow your body to acclimate to the heat by gradually increasing the intensity and duration of exercise outside (acclimation takes about 10 to 14 days); drink water before, during and after exercise; wear sun block; and wear proper clothes.