Health And Safety

Heat Exhaustion

100 Degrees

This past week has been a super busy one. The campground we are at has been filling up each night and the temperature is starting to climb. Of course, this wouldn’t be Texas if there wasn’t a good storm thrown in. Yeah, we had one… lol.

Snow In Texas
Not this kind of storm…lol. Heavy lightning and rain kind of storm.

We also started to begin our visiting of the Historic Rt66. We were very surprised at how old and run down most of the historic route is. Quite sad actually. We visited Devils Rope Barbed Wire Museum in McLean and the McLean-Alanreed Area Museum. Both museums while small in size, show displays of a deep rich history of towns that were both busy and prosperous towns.

Run Down Movie Theatre
The Once Proud Avalon Theatre

With the building of the new interstate a few miles away, there was now no need for anyone to come through the towns anymore. All major traffic was now routed on the interstate. Businesses began to fold and slowly over the years the buildings became vacant and started falling apart. Now they stand (barely) covered in graffiti and garbage. The same kind of story somewhat repeated itself the next day when we visited the Amarillo section. The only difference in the Amarillo section was there were still active storefronts operating among the vacant ones.

Enough of that stuff. I will be adding a Rt66 page soon showing everything I just talked about. The day we cruised Rt66 in Amarillo we hadn’t noticed how heated we were getting. We were so engrossed in finding cool Rt66 stuff we didn’t notice we were getting a little overheated. That brings me to this weeks blog topic, the heat and heat exhaustion.

Is It Hot Out Here Or What?

Now that the weather is heating up, more people are starting to get outside and enjoy it. Whether you are camping, hiking, biking or just out strolling, the heat is something that should not be taken lightly. Before I go any further, let me just say that I am not a Dr, I have no medical degree, and I am not even in the medical field, I am basing this blog solely on my internet research and my knowledge as a former E.M.T. Basic in the state of New York.

Your body does it’s absolute best to maintain a core temperature of approx 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When the weather is hot, your body tries to maintain it’s core temperature by sweating. Under normal circumstances, it works like this. You start to get hot, you sweat, your sweat evaporates, you cool down. When you add in humidity, your sweat does not evaporate and now you have a big problem. The higher the humidity, the less your sweat will evaporate making it harder to cool down.

There’s No Humidity Here… It’s A Dry Heat

In dry heat areas even though there is no humidity, you can still run into problems. Although sweat can much easier evaporate in dry heat, you can need to remember that you have to have something to sweat. If you keep yourself hydrated, most times there will be no problem sweating. It is extremely important that maintain a constant fluid intake. Oh, and I don’t mean alcohol!!!…lol. Alcohol will affect your bodies ability to regulate your body temperature. Anything with caffeine should also be avoided. Water or a good sports drink are good ways to stay hydrated.

There are other things that will make people’s bodies more sensitive to heat. Certain medications, obesity, your age, the amount or type of clothing you are wearing, or sudden temperature changes are some factors that may affect our bodies ability to cool down.

Hey, Dude, You Don’t Look So Good

So now you know that keeping yourself hydrated is extremely important. How do you know if you or someone you know is getting into trouble? Some possible signs are muscle cramps, cool moist skin accompanied by goosebumps, heavy sweating, faintness, dizziness, headache, nausea, weak rapid pulse, and light-headedness. If you or your friend are experiencing any of these symptoms while in the heat, please don’t take it lightly. Heat exhaustion ignored can easily go into heat stroke. Heat stroke is a much more serious condition. It occurs when your body temperature reaches approx 104 degrees. Heat stroke requires immediate professional medical care!!!

If you or a friend is suffering from heat exhaustion, there are some steps you can take. Get out of the sun and go to a shady area or better yet an air-conditioned building. If you are wearing clothing in layers remove anything that is not needed. Drink some cool liquids. Preferably water or some kind of sports drink. Use some paper towels or regular towels if you have them and dip them in cool water and place them on your skin. If you have made it back home a cool shower would help. If you don’t start to feel better within an hour, seek medical attention.

This Hike Is Going To Be Epic

Everyone should get out and enjoy the great outdoors. We should just try and be mindful of the temperature. The heat should never be underestimated. Hikers should pay particular attention to weather conditions and sun patterns. What might have been a nice shady path at the beginning of a hike could now be an intensely hot path back home as the sun changes positions in the sky. Always carry plenty of water.

If you have any questions or comments on the above material, let them in the comment section below.

Educate Yourself

If you would like to learn more about heat exhaustion, there are a couple of informative websites that explain it in more detail than I did above. The main focus of the above material was to get you thinking about the heat before you set out on your fun excursions. A way to hopefully keep you or a friend safe while out enjoying the outdoors. I have put 2 links to websites that explain heat exhaustion in detail. Click on those links for further information.

 

WebMD

Mayo Clinic

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