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Nothing Shall Be Impossible

3 heat-related problems to look out for this summer

As temperatures rise to 90 degrees and above, it's important to protect yourself from heat-related illness. Adam Sumrall, licensed athletic trainer with Baptist Sports Medicine, says there are three main heat-related problems to look out for: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. 

Heat cramps are painful, involuntary muscle spasms due to fluid loss that usually occur during heavy exercise in hot environments.  The most commonly affected muscles include the calves, arms, abdominal wall and back.  If you think you are having heat cramps:

  • Take a break and rest
  • Drink water or an electrolyte-containing sports drink
  • Gently stretch your muscles 

Heat exhaustion is a more severe form of heat-related illness with symptoms that can come on suddenly after excessive exercise, heavy sweating and poor fluid or salt intake.  Symptoms of heat exhaustion include felling faint, nausea, heavy sweating, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, pale skin, low-grade fever, headache, fatigue and dark-colored urine.  If you suspect you are suffering from heat exhaustion:

  • Get out of the sun
  • Lay down and elevate your legs
  • Loosen or remove your clothing
  • Drink cool water
  • Use a cool sponge or fan 

Heat exhaustion can quickly elevate to heatstroke – the most severe form of heat-related illness.  Young children, older adults, people who are severely overweight and people born with an impaired ability to sweat are at high risk for heatstroke.  Heatstroke can be life-threatening as the body’s normal tools for dealing with heat aren’t enough to cool the body.  The main symptom of heatstroke is a body temperature of 104 F with change in mental status.  The mental signs can range from personality changes to confusion or coma.  Other signs may include rapid heartbeat, trouble catching your breath, cessation of sweating, lightheadedness, headache, nausea and fainting. If you suspect heatstroke:

  • Get out of the sun
  • Call 911 for emergency medical help
  • Immerse yourself in cold water
  • Drink cool water
For more information about Baptist Sports Medicine, please visit www.baptistsportsmedicine.com. For find a doctor in your area, call 1-800-DOCTORS or visit www.1-800-DOCTORS.com.
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