How to Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses

Heat Cramps
Cause: Dehydration leads to an electrolyte imbalance
Symptoms: Severe abdominal or large-muscle cramps
Treatment: Restore salt balance with foods or drinks that contain sodium
Prevention: Don’t run hard in the heat till acclimatized, and stay well hydrated with sports drink

Heat Fainting
Cause: Often brought on by a sudden stop that interrupts bloodflow from the legs to the brain
Symptoms: Fainting
Treatment: After the fall, elevate legs and pelvis to help restore bloodflow to the brain
Prevention: Cool down gradually after a workout with at least five minutes of easy jogging and walking

Heat Exhaustion
Cause: Dehydration leads to an electrolyte imbalance
Symptoms: Core body temperature of 102° to 104°F, headache, fatigue, profuse sweating, nausea, clammy skin
Treatment: Rest and apply a cold pack on head/neck; also restore salt balance with foods and drinks with sodium
Prevention: Don’t run hard in the heat till acclimatized, and stay well hydrated with sports drink

Hyponatremia
Cause: Excessive water intake dilutes blood-sodium levels; usually occurs after running for four or more hours
Symptoms: Headache, disorientation, muscle twitching
Treatment: Emergency medical treatment is necessary; hydration in any form can be fatal
Prevention: When running, don’t drink more than about 32 ounces per hour; choose sports drink over water

Heat Stroke
Cause: Extreme exertion and dehydration impair your body’s ability to maintain an optimal temperature
Symptoms: Core body temp of 104° or more, headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid pulse, disorientation
Treatment: Emergency medical treatment is necessary for immediate ice-water immersion and IV-fluids
Prevention: Don’t run hard in the heat until acclimatized, and stay well hydrated with sports drink

running in heat
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