Don't let hot weather get you down!
When the weather is hot, you and your family will want to be outside working or playing. But if you're not careful, hard physical work or heavy athletic play can lead to overheating and dangerous heat illness.
Via Christi Sports Medicine offers these tips to help you and your family stay safe during hot weather.
- Ease into outside activities over several days.
- Take care to drink plenty of fluids - preferably water or sports drinks - before, during, and after activity.
- If you feel warm or sluggish, stop, rest, cool down and drink fluids. Don't wait until you feel thirsty. By then, you may already be dehydrated.
- And remember: Untreated, heat illness can be dangerous.
Three stages of heat illness
Watch out for the three stages of heat illness in yourself or others, and treat them or seek help quickly.
Heat cramps, the mildest form of heat illness, occurs when exertion and excessive sweating causes a shortage of salt in your body. To relieve muscular heat cramps, drink water or sports drinks and stretch your affected muscles.
Heat exhaustion is a more serious heat illness caused when your overheated body becomes dehydrated by sweating and heavy breathing. You may have a slightly elevated temperature, heavy perspiration, pale and clammy skin, and increased pulse, and you may feel weak, dizzy, thirsty, anxious and nauseated. To treat heat exhaustion, drink water or sports drinks and lay down to rest in a cool place. If not promptly treated, heat exhaustion can turn into life-threatening heat stroke.
Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat illness, caused when your body's normal cooling mechanisms - sweating and deep breathing - can't cool you fast enough and your core temperature becomes dangerously high. The person with heat stroke will have hot, flushed skin, a fast pulse, high temperature, dilated pupils, be disoriented and may even have a seizure. Call 911 and immediately move the person to a cooler place, remove excess clothing, spray them with cool water or place an ice pack under their arms. It's also helpful to vigorous massage their arms and legs to aid circulation.