Tag Archives: heatstroke

Summer Exercise Tips and Cautions

Most everyone wants to flock from the gym to the great outdoors for their exercise regimens during the summertime, and who could blame them? Few wish to be stuck inside doing reps when sunlit sidewalks are calling, however, summertime can be a dangerous (even downright deadly) time for exercisers who fail to take the necessary precautions. Some of those precautions are as follows:

Don’t Try To Compete With The Heat

You may be the most athletic person around, but you’re still no match for the sun at its fiercest. It is highly advised to take your exercise back indoors during peak sun hours. Avoid prolonged exposure or any serious outdoor athletic activity between 10am-3pm if possible. The early evenings are wonderful times to hit the asphalt, you’ll have a bit more of a breeze and will avoid the punishing sun. It can be very dangerous to exert yourself during extreme heat, for even the most conditioned body. The body doesn’t get a chance to cool off properly, as your sweat can’t evaporate as easily in the hot sun which can lead to your system overheating.

Heatstroke Signs And Symptoms

You’re seriously tempting fate if you exercise in very hot weather – an elevated body temperature plus the heat can equal heatstroke, which can even be fatal. Over 600 Americans die annually from heatstroke, don’t let your drive to exercise run you into trouble. If you are exercising in the heat and feel these symptoms, seek medical treatment ASAP:

  • Weakness, dizziness or faintness
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Accelerated heartrate
  • Unexplained and sudden headache
  • Vomiting or an upset stomach
  • Breathing trouble
  • Absence of perspiration when you should be soaked

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

We all know it is important to hydrate while exercising, but it is doubly important to keep hydrated while exercising in the sun. The heat causes even more perspiration so it is essential to replenish those fluids to keep from dehydration. Some symptoms of dehydration to watch for include: dry mouth, thirstiness, fatigue, headache, aches and pain, dry skin or irritability. If extreme cases of dehydration are left unchecked they can be fatal, leading to acute kidney failure.

Be Tight With Electrolytes

As important as it is to stock up on water while exercising in the summer heat, it is equally as important to replenish your electrolytes if you are exercising for prolonged periods of time in the heat. You can travel with some Gatorade or a similar electrolyte-rich drink, or you can purchase runner’s electrolyte packets. Failing to keep your electrolytes balanced during long, intense summer workouts can lead to a potentially deadly condition called hyponatremia which causes seizures, nausea and severe muscle cramps.

Well that concludes our How To Exercise Safely In the Summer Part 1, but check back for part 2 next which will cover air quality and other helpful tips! Thanks for visiting DocChat!

Medical Mythbusters – Summer Edition!


We decided to start a Medical Mythbuster feature, so here is our very first on the topic of summer health and safety! Check out these common summer health myths and try to guess from the title if they are true or false before reading further. Let’s see how many you get right!

  1. Jelly Fish Stings – To Pee Or Not To Pee?

This is a very common medical myth that we’ve probably all heard, but recent research has debunked it, suggesting that urinating on a jellyfish sting may actually make the injury worse as urine is quite acidic. The best course of action is to use warm water and a numbing agent such as lidocaine and seek medical treatment.

  1. Eyes Can Get Sunburnt

Most people don’t think of their eyes as being a body part that can be sunburned, can you picture sunburnt eyes? Not a nice image. But unfortunately it is entirely possible. The eyes are quite sensitive, and when exposed to high intensity UV rays for too long they become red, sore, itchy and sometimes painful. The effects are similar to the “flash” some welders experience when they don’t use protective eyewear while working with intense flames. Turns out sunglasses weren’t just invented for driving in style! So, protect those peepers this summer!

  1. Don’t Swim After You Eat

Another widespread summer myth that has since turned out to be mostly inaccurate. Unless you eat a whole turkey and the trimmings, you should be fine to swim. You will not sink, the worst thing that may happen if you eat too much before swimming is a stomach cramp or heartburn. Most professional swimmers eat healthy protein almost directly before competing or training, as they have low body fat percentages and require the energy. Our moms may have been a little over-concerned about this old tale but they can all relax and let their little ones go for a dip after a light snack this summer!

  1. Eww! Spit On Your Fresh Wound?

FACT (Well…kind of).
We don’t recommend that you start licking your cuts, but there has been a fair bit of empirical research about the healing powers of a specific enzyme found in the saliva. These enzymes are very powerful in animals, which is how they heal superficial wounds so quickly in the wild. Opposing medical camps argue that the helpful enzyme is overruled by the millions and of bacteria in the human mouth, some of which are harmful and could potentially cause infection in an open wound. So there may be some truth to saliva having a medicinal property in theory (and could probably help in a pinch), but one should be careful licking cuts or the bacteria may cause more harm than good!

The Summer Sun Is Only Dangerous To Skin

While skin cancer is a huge and very real summer sun concern, overheating is often overlooked as a summer danger. Heat exhaustion is much more of a dangerous topic than people believe. Over 600 Americans die annually of overheating in the summer, and many others become very ill. Small children and the elderly are most at risk for extreme symptoms or death due to overheating. Many of these deaths are preventable by drinking a lot of water to remain hydrated in the heat (especially when exercising), removing yourself from spending too much time in the direct summer heat, intermittently cooling off, and never leaving small children (or anyone) in hot cars or other overheated areas in summer.

Well that is all for our first edition of Medical Mythbusters! Thanks for visiting DocChat! Keep an eye out for future Mythbusters posts!