Preventing reactions is much better than treating the symptoms when they occur.
After some recent ups and downs in temperature, summer weather now seems here to stay. In addition to moving through the pandemic, we must not strain ourselves too much — especially now that we are finally being active or exercising outdoors in hot weather. “When the body heats up faster than it can cool itself, mild to severe heat illness may develop,” said Dr. David Argo from Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. “That’s why it is so important that everyone know and recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses.” Dr. Argo recommends we all learn those symptoms, so we can take the necessary steps to prevent, control and respond to them effectively. This will help keep us safe even as the outside temperature rises.
Although Dr. Argo works with many local high school athletes, his patient base is much wider than that – including local friends and neighbors of all ages. Given his firsthand experience, he stressed that heat illness can affect any of us. “Whether you are working in your home garden or mowing the grass, you need to take care,” he said. He also stressed that anyone who works in extreme heat for long periods of time (like road crew members and construction workers) should be doing everything possible to prevent heat illness. Preventing those reactions is much better than treating the symptoms when they occur. Take that prevention seriously.
As the weather warms and the covid restrictions are lifted – be aware that you or someone you love may be at risk. Maybe you or they are back working in the yard, back on the practice or playing field or working a strenuous outdoor job. Know that as temperatures climb, everyone should take care in advance and have a plan of action if a heat emergency occurs. Also be aware that more than just the air temperature can adversely affect you. The outside humidity and your clothing can increase the risk of developing heat-related illnesses. So can your age, gender, weight, physical fitness, nutrition, alcohol or drug use, or pre-existing diseases like diabetes. Pay attention.
Symptoms of Potential Heat Illness
- Confusion/Irrational Behavior
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Low Blood Pressure
- Increased Respiratory Rate
- Drink water or sports drinks frequently throughout exertion.
- Limit exposure time and/or temperature.
- Schedule tasks/exertion at cooler times of the day, if possible.
- Acclimate. Gradually adapting to heat will reduce the severity of any heat stress. This usually takes 5-10 days.
- Wear loose or lightweight clothing.
- Eat food/snacks that are high in salt content. This will stimulate thirst.
If You See Someone Experiencing a Heat-Related Emergency
- Move the person to a shaded area -- or better yet -- to an air-conditioned area.
- Remove excess clothing and equipment.
- Cool the person until core temperature is 101 or less
- Hydrate orally and/or with IV fluids, if available.
- Prop up his/her legs to increase blood return to the heart.
- Monitor vital signs.
- Call 911 if condition deteriorates or there is not rapid improvement.
Heat illness is serious and should be dealt with as such. Don’t ignore the symptoms.
Beyond this type of emergency, if you experience pain as you are re-entering the great outdoors for exercise/exertion, you can always schedule a diagnostic appointment at Beacon West, Lawrenceburg and Batesville, or come to one of their Saturday morning injury clinics, or urgent care at Erlanger and Summit Woods.
Go to www.beaconortho.com or call 513-354-3700 for an appointment. All 13 Beacon locations are seeing patients, following all state safety guidelines.