Beacon Ortho: Beat the Heat, Even During the Pandemic

Monday, July 13th, 2020 11:58am

By Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, news release

Being “in shape” or “just doing what I always do” are not full protection against heat illness.

(undated) - Since the Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana High School Athletics Association (IHSAA) have given the OK for local sports to return to summer workouts, everyone involved needs to be wise. This year, that means more than just “getting back into shape”, it means doing that while preventing over-exertion in record-breaking heat and during a global pandemic.

According to statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the average air temperatures have shattered previously held records. Since we’ve moved straight into the full heat of yet another record-breaking summer, it’s important not to overdo it when being active or exercising outdoors. “Being aware of your body and how the heat affects it will help you stay safe while getting ready for the next season,” said Dr. David Argo at Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.

When your body heats up faster than it can cool itself, mild to severe heat illness may develop. It is important not only to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses, but also you should learn how to prevent, control and respond to their effects. This can be especially true for young people who want to push through for the sake of the team.

Some of those symptoms include confusion, dizziness, weakness, nausea/vomiting, irrational behavior, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure or increased respiratory rate. Even if the symptoms are relatively mild, don’t discount them. If you experience any of them, your body is trying to tell you something. Listen.

At the onset of any of these symptoms, Dr. Argo says, “be sure to drink water, get out of direct sunlight, elevate your feet and rest.” Allowing your body to recuperate will not only help you move past those initial adverse symptoms; it may even help you avoid further trouble. When you are weakened (regardless of its cause), you are more likely to injure yourself as you exercise. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Being “in shape” or “just doing what I always do” are not full protection against heat illness. That is an illness that can affect toned athletes and weekend warriors. Many times it strikes everyday people simply working in their yards, tending gardens or mowing lawns. It hits construction workers or others working in extreme heat for long periods of time.

PREVENTION

Given that air temperature, humidity and clothing can increase the risk of developing heat-related illnesses, you should choose to exercise (or not) accordingly. Make a conscious effort to eat healthfully. Recognize that your age, sex, weight and personal physical fitness may dictate how extreme heat will affect you. Be aware of your personal stats and act accordingly. Gradually, expose your body to the heat. By incrementally ramping up the time you ramp up” can take five to ten days. Wearing loose or lightweight clothing is logical, and it works. Lastly, eat food/snacks that are high in salt content. They will stimulate thirst. Then, be sure to quench that thirst with (even more) water. Do not consume alcohol or use drugs.

Be aware of how any pre-existing conditions (like diabetes) may affect your body’s ability to work well in high heat. You are your own best advocate. Take care.

AVOID OVER-EXERTION

Yes, you need to cut the grass. But how about doing it early in the morning or after the sun goes down? As you garden, why not take frequent breaks, drinking a lot of water during each? If you run or walk for exercise, limit your exposure time and/or the temperature when you train – try to schedule these during cooler times of the day.

High School coaches are already considering how they can get teams ready for fall sports, but they are also purposefully scheduling practices in the mornings or evenings. They are making sure to have shaded breaks with lots of water. Do not think you are too tough for a break or for more water. If you need a rest, ask for it.

IN CASE OF HEAT EMERGENCY

  • Move to a shaded or air-conditioned area.
  • Remove excess clothing and equipment.
  • Cool down until core temperature is 101 or lower.
  • Hydrate orally and/or with IV fluids.
  • Prop up legs to increase blood return to the heart.
  • Monitor vital signs.
  • Call 911 or transport to a medical facility if condition deteriorates or there is not rapid improvement.

All nine Beacon locations are seeing patients. Striving to ensure patient and staff health, Beacon offers Telehealth Video Visits and when seeing patients in person, they are using all approved safety protocols, including temperature checks, masks, hand sanitizing.

Providing a safe environment to diagnose and recommend the next steps for any injury is always the right thing to do. If you need to talk with a medical professional, please visit www.beaconortho.com or call 513-354-3700 to schedule an appointment.

No matter what you do this summer, be sure you beat the heat.

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