Too Hot to Handle

Temperatures are rising in Tanglewood. And I’m not talking about COVID. It’s been 95 degrees by 10:00 am for several days and now the rainy season is upon us. The Pickleball courts are pretty much empty due to the humidity and rain. The best place to be is either indoors or in the pool for your 30 minutes of water fun at that time of day. We were a very active community and will be again soon. Combined with the warm weather, it still is a perfect combination for heat related illnesses. 

Heat exhaustion is most often caused by a combination of physical exertion and warm weather.  Additional factors known to increase the likelihood of heat exhaustion include:
High humidity, usually over 60 percent
Intense, strenuous physical work
Drug abuse
Heavy or long-term alcohol use
Smoking or tobacco use
Being overweight
Certain medications, especially those that increase the risk of dehydration, including medications for depression, insomnia, allergies, and poor circulation
High blood pressure
Heart disease
Being under 4 or over 65 years old

On its own, heat exhaustion is not considered a major health concern. If left untreated, however, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke and further complications, including brain damage and organ failure.
Unlike heatstroke, which can be life-threatening, heat exhaustion does not cause impaired mental function, confusion, or loss of consciousness. 

Cases of heat exhaustion are also distinguished from heatstroke because a person’s internal body temperature does not go above 103°F. Heat stroke is less common than heat exhaustion but more serious; it puts strain on the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.

Alongside drinking fluids, heat exhaustion may be treated by moving to a cool and shaded area. Under a tree in 95 degree weather is not a cool place to go if there is a building with air conditioning. When it opens, the Activity Center or Clubhouse would be best if you’re outside here in the park.  
If heat exhaustion is suspected, a person should stop doing exercise or physical activity immediately and drink fluids as soon as possible.

Further Tips for Treating Heat Exhaustion Include:
Seeking out a cool, shaded area or going indoors
Loosening clothing, Lying flat on the back
Taking a lukewarm or cool shower, placing a cool, wet cloth on the face and chest
In severe cases, putting ice packs under each armpit and behind the neck
Drinking 1 liter per hour of drinks that contain electrolytes, such as Gatorade

How to Re-hydrate
Fresh fruit juices, ideally orange, pear, or peach
Weak, non-caffeinated tea
Gatorade/Powerade drinks
Banana puree mixed with water or just some H20
Recovery Time
In most people, symptoms of heat exhaustion will start to improve within 30 minutes. However, if symptoms do not improve after 30–60 minutes, seek medical attention.
A doctor will treat heat exhaustion with one or two liters of intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes. If fluids and rest do not resolve symptoms, a doctor will perform a blood work-up and other clinical tests to rule out other potential causes.
If heat exhaustion is treated promptly, the individual will be fully recovered within 24-48 hours.

More Tips on Treating Heat Exhaustion:
Keeping electrolyte beverages or oral re-hydration salt preparations on hand
Avoiding sugary drinks and sodas
Not increasing workload or pace too quickly
Exercising in a well-ventilated area or while using a fan
Seeking air-conditioned, indoor areas when outdoor temperatures are over 90°F
Applying sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapplying often in the summer, scheduling strenuous activities during the early morning or evening
Increasing fluid intake when using medications known to increase the risk of heat exhaustion
Keeping hydrated when working in hot, humid environments, such as factories, laundry facilities, and kitchens
Wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing when exercising or working in warm weather
The symptoms of heat exhaustion are meant to warn the body that it is becoming overheated.

Heat Cramps 

The mildest type of heat-related syndromes, usually occur before heat exhaustion. Treating heat cramps as soon as they occur may prevent heat exhaustion from developing.

Symptoms of Heat Cramps Include:
Heavy or excessive sweating
Muscle pain and cramps
Fatigue or tiredness

Heat cramps can be treated with fluids and rest. A person should also seek shade or an air-conditioned building as soon as possible.

Most of us are aware of the signs and symptoms when we see it in others, but sometimes it catches you off guard when its your own body talking to you. Don’t ignore it. Don’t deny it. Deal with it so you can return to the summer outdoor games we all enjoy.


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Pam Batey

Moved to Tanglewood in August 2016, with husband, Steve and dog, Maggie. Retired Paramedic, now continuing my hobby writing short stories and information in the "You and Your Health" Section of the newsletter. Active Member of Tanglewood Community Church.