Summer is in full swing and temperatures are rising. The American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, and local Hard Hats with Heart sponsor Collins Electrical Company, Inc. are sharing tips for staying active in the heat.
With the arrival of warmer weather and as California loosens COVID-19 lockdown restrictions it is only natural that people are eager to spend time outside. However, too much time in the heat and dehydration forces the heart to work harder while pumping out less blood. If other risk factors for heart disease and stroke are in place this can create a dangerous situation for a person.
“Dehydration and heat illnesses are very serious threats on a construction site. This is why we’re working with the American Heart Association to raise awareness about how to stay safe in the heat,” said Tina Taylor, Safety Director with Collins Electrical Company, Inc. “For craftworkers who spend most of their working days outdoors, knowing the signs and symptoms of overheating and taking precautions to stay safe are important to maintaining good cardiovascular health. We want to share this information with our community so everyone can have a healthy and fun summer.”
Heat exhaustion can occur with exposure to high temperatures and humidity. Dehydration occurs when a person does not replace body fluids lost by sweating. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: Headaches; cool and moist skin; dizziness and light-headedness; weakness; nausea and vomiting; dark urine.
Heat stroke happens when the body is no longer able to regulate its temperature, and it keeps rising. This is very serious and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of heat stroke include: Fever (temperature above 104°F); irrational behavior; extreme confusion; dry, hot, and red skin; rapid, shallow breathing; rapid, weak pulse; seizures; unconsciousness.
When working or being active outdoors in the summer, keep these tips in mind:
Timing is key: Try to avoid exercising outside in the early afternoon. It is usually hottest between noon and 3 p.m.
Hydrate: Drink water before, during and after physical activity, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Bring a bottle of water with you, or plan water stops along your route.
Dress for success: Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes. Protect yourself from the sun with sunglasses, a hat or visor and plenty of sweat-resistant sunscreen.
Listen to your body: Take frequent breaks in the shade, and drink water before you are thirsty. Allow yourself time to adapt to the heat, some experts say that this can take about four to 14 days. You may not be able to work out as long or as hard as usual when it is very hot.
Doctor’s orders: Check with your healthcare professional before starting an exercise routine or moving your workout outdoors if you have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, other chronic disease, or any medical concerns. Certain medications like beta blockers, ace receptor blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and diuretics can exaggerate the body’s response to heat.
Buddy up: If you can, work out with a partner for safety and fun.
Ample sunshine, longer days, and warmer temperatures provide more opportunities for the whole family to get outside and get active. However, it is important to stay vigilant when working and exercising outdoors in the summer months to avoid heat illnesses.
The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. Connect with them on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.