It’s summertime and that means it’s HOT in Houston! It also means trips to the beach, a pool or other outdoor activities. You may not even think you need to make any changes because of the heat, but that isn’t true. Heat can affect not only your heart, but your body as well.
When you are outdoors, are you drinking enough water? You may not even feel thirsty, but it’s especially important for anyone over 50 to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can certainly be avoided if you take precaution. Also, if you are taking any medications, such as beta blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, or any kind of diuretic (which depletes sodium from your body) can all exaggerate your body’s response to heat. Keep taking your meds – and take them as prescribed.
Even if you think you can handle the heat, it’s best to avoid the sun from about noon to 3 p.m., as that’s when the sun is at its strongest point. Try exercising with a buddy for safety.
Here are some other safety tips:
- Wear the right shoes. Your feet tend to sweat in the heat, so be sure your shoes are ventilated and wear socks that repel perspiration
- Wear the right clothes. It’s best to wear light-colored clothing such as cotton – or one that helps to repel sweat. Don’t forget the hat and your sunglasses.
- Drink your water before you exercise, during your exercise and after you exercise. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
- Don’t forget your sunscreen. Use a broad spectrum of at least 30 SPF.
- Don’t use the heat as an excuse NOT to exercise!
What are symptoms of heat exhaustion?
- Heavy sweating
- Nausea, with possible vomiting
- Dizziness or fainting
- Cold, moist skin with chills
- Fast, shallow breathing
If you experience heat exhaustion, move to a cooler place (shade or an air conditioned facility). Douse yourself with cold water and drink water! If you don’t notice an improvement fairly soon, you may need to seek medical attention.
What are symptoms of heat stroke?
- Warm, dry skin without sweating
- Strong and rapid pulse
- Confusion and/or even unconsciousness
- Slight fever
- Throbbing headache
If you suspect you or someone you are with is having a heat stroke, seek medical attention at once!
How long as it been since you took a CPR class? Watch the video for a quick “2 steps to staying alive”.
If you would like to receive an email notifying you when new articles are posted, click the subscribe button above. If you have comments, questions or stories, please use the comment box below. To get the latest information on protecting your heart health, follow Cleta Brookstein on Twitter.