YOURS IN HEALING with Dr. Rachel Lys, DPT

Remember to stay safe when exercising in the Summer Heat

Summer has arrived and so has the heat. As you continue exercising this summer, remember to protect your body from injury due to overheating. When the environmental temperature rises, the body has increased difficulty cooling itself through its normal means. Heat stroke from exercise is a common causes of sudden death in sports activities.

Exertional Heat Illness occurs when exercising in the heat. Exertional heat illness refers to a spectrum of disorders resulting from total body heat stress. This can include cramps, heat exhaustion, heat injury and heat stroke. The symptoms and treatments for each of these vary slightly, however heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two of the most severe.

Heat Exhaustion is one type of heat illness. Heat exhaustion is a result of overheating. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal. Therefore the symptoms of heat exhaustion is important to remember. The symptoms are: Dizziness, Nausea, Headache, Weakness, Clumsy unsteady walking, and Muscle cramps.

Should you feel any form of heat illness setting in here are a few tips for treatment that should be taken immediately. Treatments include: Resting in shade, Loosen uniform, remove head gear, Drink water, Seek out medical attention from your doctor if no improvement or if condition worsens.

Heat Stroke is the most serious type of heat illness. Heat stroke indicates brain function is compromised and can be fatal if left untreated. The symptoms are: Profuse sweating, Convulsions and chills, Vomiting, Confusion, mumbling, Combative, Losing consciousness. Treatment for heat stroke include: Cooling the body and call for help, Remove all outer clothing, Initiate rapid cooling, Call for medical assistance.

It is important to remember there are various internal and external factors that can put you at risk for exertional heat injury. Some of these factors are within your control. Please use good judgment prior to initiating a workout this summer. Below are some risk factors to look out for: High temperature, High humidity, High exertion, Heavy loads/gear, being of age older then 40, being of Females sex increases your risk, Prior heat injury, Sleep deprivation, Alcohol in past 24 hours, Poor overall physical fitness.

The best way to protect yourself from exertional heat injury is to be educated on ways to prevent it in the first place. Use these suggestions to keep you and your workouts safe in the summertime heat.
Heat acclimatization, Education, Avoiding exercise if ill, Gradual addition of equipment/ padding, Maintain hydration, Workout early or late in the day, and Allow for recovery periods between exercise sessions.

If you feel you are suffering from any heat related illness, please contact your physician. And remember if you have questions regarding a physical injury, please contact your physical therapist before exercising in the summer time heat.

As always, yours in Healing,
Dr. Rachel Lys, DPT – 631-668-7600