Living in Florida means we are no strangers to hot and muggy days especially in the summer months, but as the temperature climbs so does our risk of heat illness. SIMED Primary Care's Eric Svestka, M.D. looks into what ways we can manage "Exertional Heat Illness" and reduce our risk during the growling dog days of summer.
Exertional Heat Illness is a continuum, from irritating muscles cramps to life-threatening heat stroke. The American College of Sports Medicine has guidelines to help recognize who is at the greatest risk and what we can do to prevent falling victim to the heat.
Some factors that increase your odds of being affected include:
- Being active outdoors on warm, humid days
- Poor physical fitness
- Being over weight
- Certain medications
The way to stay out of trouble with the heat is to plan ahead and follow these simple rules:
- Gradually increase the duration of time spent in the heat and the intensity of the work you are doing. It takes about two weeks for your body to adapt.
- Hydrate before going out into the heat and keep hydrating through out your activity.
- When possible try to plan your outdoor activities when temperatures are at their coolest, early mornings are best.
- Wear clothes that are designed to help keep your body cool.
- If you are beginning to feel exhausted or lightheaded while you are outside STOP what you are doing. Go inside, or get to a shaded area, and cool off with a cold water or sports drink.
When beginning a new workout program, or just increasing your activity level, be sure to include a chat with your Primary Care Physician in your preparations. Not only can they help you come up with a personalized plan, but they can help you recognize potential risks in your medical history and with any medications you may be taking.
Whether we are out having fun in the sun, exercising, or our jobs have us working in it, let's come up with a plan to beat the heat!
For locations and contact info please visit us at SIMED Primary Care or to request an appointment online with Dr. Svestka please click on link online appointment request.