Exercising in hot, humid weather can be dangerous to your health, as it can lead to a heat injury. Symptoms such as extreme thirst, cramps, and weakness are all signs of heat distress. But what is a heat injury and how is it possible to prevent it.
What is a Heat Injury
A heat injury is usually the result of physical activity in which the environmental temperature is higher than the inner body temperature, and there is inadequate fluid intake. Heat injuries vary from mild to severe, with heat cramps being the mildest.
• Heat cramps are involuntary muscular contractions that occur when individuals do not rehydrate after an intense session of physical exercise. The contractions can be quite painful, and usually occur in the hamstrings, arms, or abdomen.
• Heat exhaustion is the second stage of heat injury. It is the result of serious depletion of water and salt that some athletes experience after taking part in an event. Common symptoms include dizziness, weakness, headache, excess sweating, and thirst.
• Heat stroke is the most serious type of heat injury and can be life threatening, therefore it requires urgent medical attention. Symptoms include high body temperature, disorientation, elevated pulse, seizure, and low blood pressure.
How to prevent heat injury
• Keeping hydrated when engaging in extreme physical activity, is the number one way to prevent heat injury. Athletes should ensure that they drink sufficient fluids before and during the race.
• Wear loose lightweight clothing if you are participating in intense sporting activities. This will facilitate better evaporation of sweat.
• Try to schedule vigorous activity for the cooler times of the day, but if hot temperatures are unavoidable, be sure to take short rest periods.
If you are interested in learning more about how to prevent a heat injury, contact, Dr. Frank McCormick, orthopedic surgeon. Dr. McCormick has offices in Miami, Palm Beach, and Orlando. Call 1-888-LESS-DOCS to book an appointment, or visit www.frankmccormickmd.com/contact-us/