Athletes continue to train in the summer heat. Special attention needs to be noted when it comes to heat training to keep yourself safe. With record high temps across the nation, knowing the warning signs of a heat stroke could save your life.
Heat stroke is different than heat exhaustion, although both can result from lack of hydration and poor regulation of body temperature. Heat exhaustion can start after a few hours of exercising in extreme heat followed by heavy sweating. In some cases you will start to feel fatigued and may even have goose bumps on your skin. If you notice this, you should stop exercising and drink fluids to get your electrolyte levels rebalanced. If the signs of heat exhaustion are not addressed, it could quickly turn into heat stroke, which could be fatal.
Heat stroke can happen without the signs of heat exhaustion and can happen rather quickly. It is best to run with a buddy or have a workout partner join you when you are doing an outdoor workout so that you can monitor each other for signs of distress. If you must run or exercise alone, let a friend or loved one know where you will be and when you expect to be finished or back home so that they can alert somebody if you are not checked in by that time. Heat can affect even the best of athletes and is non-forgiving.
The symptoms of heatstroke vary a little from heat exhaustion. With a heat stroke, you will feel very tired and become disoriented. You may seem confused or act out with bizarre behavior. You will stop sweating altogether and the skin will become hot and dry. Your body temperature might rise up to 105 degrees. You might experience a seizure or lose consciousness. If you or a friend is starting to experience any of these symptoms, you must seek emergency medical help. Simply stopping to replenish fluids at this point will not be enough. In extreme causes, death can occur as a result of heat stroke.
You don’t need to sit on the sidelines during summer sports, but you need to pay attention to warning signs to keep yourself safe. Remember to stay hydrated. You will need more than just water alone. You will want to drink a sports drink too so you can replenish lost electrolytes. If you are running, you will want to take extra walk breaks or slow your pace down so that you do not overheat. If you are playing an organized sport, swap out your players often so they can take necessary breaks for self-care and hydration. Remember not to exercise alone so you don’t fall into a danger zone unknowingly. Learn the warning signs of a heat related illness so that you can help others if necessary.