As we head into the summer months, it’s important to be prepared for the heat. Heat illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke, are a real concern for anyone who spends time outdoors, regardless of their level of fitness. Here are some tips to help you beat the heat and stay safe this summer.
Dehydration is the root cause of all heat illnesses. It’s important to drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Take breaks often and avoid being active during the hottest times of the day. Citrus fruits and bananas are a good source of potassium and sodium, but avoid drinking alcohol and sodas that contain caffeine, as they can dehydrate you faster.
Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing that is made of breathable materials. This will help to keep you cool and prevent overheating.
Additional Tips for Staying Hydrated:
Drink small amounts of fluid frequently, rather than large amounts less often. Drink cold beverages to cool your core body temperature. If you have the opportunity, weigh yourself after exercising, and drink 2 to 3 cups of water for every pound lost. Pay attention to the amount and color of your urine. You should excrete a large volume that is nearly colorless. Small amounts of urine or dark yellow-colored urine can indicate dehydration.
What to Do if You or Someone You Know is in Trouble:
If you or someone you know is suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke, take immediate action. Move to a cool place out of the sun and loosen any tight-fitting clothing. Drink fluids, such as water or sports drinks, and try to cool off by sponging with cool water or applying cool, wet cloths.
If symptoms do not clear up quickly or if a person is seriously fatigued, disoriented, or losing consciousness, call for emergency medical assistance immediately.
The bottom line is that by staying properly hydrated, avoiding over-exposure to the sun and heat, and being aware of the signs of heat illness, you can enjoy the summer while staying safe. For more information on health and wellness, visit our website at www.performanceorthopedics.com.
Dr. Joseph Guettler is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine, as well as surgery of the knee, shoulder, and elbow. His office is located in Bingham Farms, MI. Visit www.miorthosurgeons.com for more information on Dr. Guettler and his practice, Michigan Orthopaedic Surgeons.