‘Tis the season to stay cool and hydrated
Summer is a great time to take your fitness routine outdoors — it’s also a time when people suffer most from dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Remember last month’s heat wave? The National Climatic Data Center’s preliminary data showed that 2,712 high-temperature records were either tied or broken, so train smart. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, dehydration occurs more frequently during hot-weather training and has severe consequences, including increasing the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke during and immediately after activity.
Even high-profile, carefully managed athletes and performers — and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother — routinely suffer from heat exhaustion and dehydration. Last summer, Kings of Leon lead singer Caleb Followill reportedly suffered heat exhaustion and dehydration at a Dallas show, which caused his vocal chords to seize. He left the stage and didn’t come back, forcing his bandmates to cancel the rest of the show.
Speaking of Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki, who plays forward for the Dallas Mavericks, led Dallas to an 86-83 victory in the Game 4 of the NBA Finals in June, despite having a 101-degree fever while sick with the flu. Michael Jordan had a similar experience during Game 5 of the 1997 Finals, now called the famous “flu game.” We do not recommend doing this! Exercising with a fever can cause dehydration.
In a more severe and unfortunate case, Minnesota Vikings’ offensive tackle Korey Stringer died Aug. 1, 2001, of heat stroke a day after collapsing at a practice session during which the heat index reached 110 degrees.
Celebs who couldn’t take the heat
- Katy Perry cancelled two shows after suffering from food poisoning, which led to severe dehydration last summer.
- Former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland collapsed on stage during the ThisDay Music Festival in Lagos, Nigeria in 2007.
- Nicole Richie collapsed on the set of “Simple Life” and was hospitalized for dehydration in 2007.
Learn from these headline-grabbing mistakes! MayoClinic listed the following signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion. (If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately!)
Symptoms of severe dehydration:*
- Extreme thirst
- Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
- Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
- Lack of sweating
- Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber
- Sunken eyes
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- No tears when crying
- In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
Symptoms of heat exhaustion:*
- Cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat
- Heavy sweating
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure upon standing
- Muscle cramps
Luckily, dehydration and heat exhaustion are preventable. According to the National Center for Sports Safety, avoid the hottest times of day by working out in the early morning or late evening, and reduce the intensity and duration of your workout.
The NCSS also urges you to drink often and regularly whether thirsty or not. And don’t just drink water! The NCSS suggests drinking more than just water. They say when you exert yourself, you lose electrolytes as well as fluid, so pop open a Gatorade. Replacing the fluid alone (with just water) can lead to electrolyte imbalances, which can be life-threatening. It is also important to monitor your urine. It should be the color of lemonade, not apple juice.
If you see someone suffering from any of the symptoms above, move them to a cool area and give them water or a sports drink and immediately contact a medical professional!
The next time you go out for a run, hit the turf or belt out that ’80s rock anthem at karaoke night, do what we do and chug, chug, chug (water, that is)!