Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘extreme heat’

This group of players braved high temps for Ultimate Frisbee this week.

It’s hot. We know that much for sure.  What’s an outdoor enthusiast to do when the temperatures reach the triple digits but the fun of Ultimate Frisbee, cycling or other outdoor activities still calls your name?

Drink more water: Okay, that’s a no brainer.  You should obviously increase fluid intake any time you’re participating in athletic activities, but the Centers for Disease Control website points out that it’s going to take more water than you think. During heavy exercise in extreme heat, the CDC recommends two to four 16-ounce glasses of water at a minimum. That means for the three hours that we played Ultimate Frisbee at South Park on Wednesday, we should each have had between three-quarters and 1 ½ gallons (3 to 5 liters) of water. I personally drank 3 liters (.79 gallons), and it was just right to keep me going. Make sure you’re planning ahead and bringing that much water along.

Replace salt, potassium and other minerals: If you’re sweating heavily, you’re losing salt and other minerals. Salt works in your body to maintain the balance of water inside and outside your cell walls. Most of us have high enough sodium intakes in our diets to avoid hypoatremia — a condition where water swells and damages cells due to imbalance caused by lack of sodium — but this is a real concern for high caliber athletes like ultra-marathoners and distance cyclists. For the rest of us, the most likely consequence of not replacing salt and minerals is muscle cramping. It’s an easy fix though; replace some of your water with an electrolyte sports drink and munch some potassium rich foods like bananas and oranges before you work out.  Interesting fact: everyone loses salt at a different rate, which is generally between 300 and 1,100 milligrams per pound of sweat.

Laura Sievert and Kirstin Smith at Ultimate Frisbee. The heat made hydration very important for all players.

Sunscreen: Apply often; apply liberally. Don’t forget that your lips and scalp can burn, too, and take proper precautions.

Know what heat exhaustion and heat stroke symptoms are: Warning signs of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and/or fainting. I happened to have the unfortunate experience of moderate heat exhaustion on a bike ride just a couple of weeks ago. I first noticed a headache brewing at about mile 12 of my ride. Just a few miles after that, I knew something was wrong and some of the other riders (thank you Jim and Greg) pointed out that I looked pale and needed to stop. Immediately, I realized that I had been unprepared for the heat and was experiencing the onset of heat exhaustion. I immediately got into the shade, cooled off as much as possible, drank a whole bottle of Powerade, and then headed back with Greg and Brian to where I could have myself and my bike picked up. The guys were super nice, and we took it slow and stopped several times while getting back to the car. I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed to cut my ride short, and it was hard to admit that I needed to turn back. I’m very glad I did though, because I was quite nauesated by the time I reached my car and further symptoms of heat exhaustion were not far behind.

The moral of the story is swallow your pride and know when you need to slow down or stop. There’s no harm in calling it quits in extreme heat, and there can be lots of harm if you keep going. If you’re out in the heat, and especially if you’re experiencing symptoms like I had, just stop. Have a buddy or two bring you back in case you need help. If you’re out by yourself, make sure someone knows where you are, when to expect you back, and what to do if you don’t get home. Do bring your cell phone for emergencies, but don’t make that your only plan. We all know that cell phones can break or not find a signal at the most inopportune times, so they shouldn’t be your only means of letting someone know where you are.

Heat stroke symptoms are much more serious and include  extremely high body temperature (above 103 orally), red/hot/dry skin (no sweating), rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion, headache and/or unconsciousness. Read the CDC site for complete recommendations on what to do, but if someone has these symptoms you must call for medical assistance immediately.  First-aid includes cooling the victim as fast as possible using shade, water on the body, a cool shower, a wet sheet — whatever you’ve got. Heat stroke is life-threatening and should be treated as such.

Be careful and be ready for the heat the rest of this week and the rest of this summer. Take lots of breaks and get cool when you need to.  As long as you’re vigilant, you’ll get home in one piece when you “Get Out” this summer.

It goes without saying that you should read the CDC’s extreme heat recommendations for further information. “Get Out” blog is not a medical source, so read it from the experts here:www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp

For really interesting info on salt and extreme running, check out:www.runtheplanet.com/trainingracing/nutrition/salt.asp

Original Post July 24, 2011

Read Full Post »