Beat the dangers of the heat: heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and hyponatremia


Happy HOT Wednesday!

The temperature is 87 degrees, feels 95, with 63% humidity.

And it’s only lunch time.

That’s disgusting.

free sauna

We’re doing “Nicole” at CrossFit tonight – a 20  minute AMRAP of a 400 meter run followed by max rep pull-ups.

Basically, the idea is to get as many pull-ups as you can because once you fall off the bar from the pull-ups, you have to run a 400.

Sounds fun, right?

Yeah, except for the whole IT’S REALLY HOT OUTSIDE business!!

I don’t know about you but I’m not a wimp when it comes to sweating.



It might be a little difficult for me to hang on to that bar.  Looks like I might spend a lot of time running.

Good thing I love running, right? 🙂

Anyway, because it’s so hot and I’m pretty sure it’s hot where you are, too, it seems like a good idea to remind you about hydrating appropriately and how to tell if you, or a workout buddy, has heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

When you sweat, your body is working to help regulate your temperature.  As sweat evaporates from your skin, it removes excess heat and cools you. Which is GREAT!

But, if you’re working out and it’s hot, you might lose more liquid and salt than your body can stand to lose. Which is BAD. Very BAD.

And that’s why hydration is so very important.

Yes, you’re going to still sweat but making sure you replenish the fluids WHILE you’re working out is imperative.

Cool Tips to Beat the Heat – Runner’s World

If you end up dehydrated, you could experience heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion will leave you feeling chilled (even though it’s a million degrees outside), lightheaded, dizzy, and nauseous. You may even have a headache or muscle cramps. You will also probably be sweating profusely.

Which, if you’re already a big sweaty mess to begin with, may be difficult to identify. That’s why knowledge of the rest of those symptoms is important.

The best thing to do for yourself or someone else suffering heat exhaustion is get to a cool, shady place and drink water and/or sports drinks. Remember, you also lose salt when you sweat and your body needs that, too. If you don’t feel better within an hour or your symptoms worsen, get to the emergency like lickety-split. Call 911. You’re in no condition to drive. (ANOTHER reason to run with your cell phone!!)

When is it too hot to run? – Runner’s World

The worst case scenario is heat stroke.

During heat stroke, your internal body temperature has reached, and likely exceeded, 104 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s really, really, really HIGH and very, very, very BAD. Like FATAL bad.

Your body is no longer capable of regulating your temperature and you need medical attention ASAP.

Symptoms of heat stroke will be very similar to heat exhaustion – if you missed those, go back and start over – but will progress if the body is unable to cool down.

When that happens, disorientation can occur and loss of consciousness and seizures can occur. There will probably be a lack of sweating – the body will still be moist from previous sweat that is lingering but if there’s no active sweat happening, TAKE ACTION!  The body temperature needs to be brought down. Move again to a cool, shaded place. If you’re near water, IN the water would probably be a good idea.  Remove excess clothing – it’s trapping in the heat. If you have ice packs, place them under the armpits, on the head and neck and even in the groin area. Drink water. DEFINITELY CALL 911!!!!!

Hot Weather Racing Concerns – Runner’s World

On the flip side, because you don’t already have enough to worry about, there’s also a danger of over-hydrating – hyponatremia.

During hyponatremia, the sodium in your body gets too diluted and your body’s water level rises. This can also be fatal.  Symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion and, when extremely serious, heat stroke. Understanding what the athlete has been doing will help with determining which it is. Of course, so will calling 911 and getting professional medical help so I highly recommend doing THAT! If the person is still conscious, try to engage them in conversation regarding the amount of water they’ve consumed so you don’t give them more and make it worse. Sports drinks will help a little until medical help arrives.

Hydration and Heat Management – Runner’s World

Now, don’t let any of that scare you. You can still go outside for your run or bike ride or whatever. You can still go to the gym or box or fitness center or whatever you want to call it. Just be safe. And smart. And sweaty. 🙂

Talk to me: When was the last time you took a first aid/CPR class? Did you know you can take them through your local YMCA?

– jennifer