Heat + Dehydration: What To look for & how to prevent it

As the summer solstice fast passes us by, we eagerly await outdoor fun and 9pm sunsets. With this new season comes direct heat that can impact our bodies in more ways than one. The main effects heat has on the body can be broken down into four main categories.

Increased Rate of Sweating
The body contains two major glands that produce surface level sweat. The Apocrine Gland is found in your underarm or groin area whereas the Eccrine Gland is composed of thousands of cells covering your entire body. Your body sweats to cool itself off and will start sweating with minimal movement in direct heat.

Increased Core Temperature
“It begins with perspiring profusely, and when that shuts down, the body becomes very hot. Eventually that begins to affect the brain, and that's when people begin to get confused and can lose consciousness.” – Scientific America.

Increased Skin Temperature
Like anything that heats from the inside, that energy eventually has to go somewhere and is directed to the surface of our skin. Whether it’s a visible burn or simply just heat trying to escape, our skin takes on a new flushed color as direct heat increases.

Increased Heart Rate for the Same Work Load
As athletes that typically warm up and cool down before a major work out, we are familiar with the concept of heating our muscles through increased blood circulation. Combine that expected temperature increase with heat and the results could be scary. Livestrong notes, “How high your temperature rises during your workout depends not only on how much heat your muscles produce, but also on how fast your body loses heat. In cold conditions, your body loses heat rapidly. In hot, humid weather, your body is less able to dissipate excess heat, making overheating more of a risk.”

If these four categories are not addressed in a timely fashion, they can quickly lead to extended negative outcomes for athletes. USA Football notes heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat syncope (fainting) as common illnesses.  

Luckily, taking a few proactive steps can keep dehydration and illness at bay. The Trago team recommends taking the initiative in these two major areas to combat the heat this summer!

1.     Make yourself aware. Awareness starts inside and moves outward. Knowing your body and your boundaries empowers you to stay hydrated and safe. As discussed on Nuun, “nausea, chills, headaches, excessive thirst (among others) are all signs of heat-related illness. familiarize yourself so that you can recognize dehydration in yourself or others before it becomes severe.” Additionally, have an awareness of your surroundings, know that the sun is most direct at noon and heat can reach you anywhere.

2.     Drink water. Considering, water composes 75% of your lean body mass it makes sense that it can have such a powerful impact on your overall health equation. Katherine Tallmadge, expert blogger on Live Science, highlights one of the main benefits to drinking water in heat, “Water carries heat away from your internal organs before serious damage occurs.”

Taking a step back from these specific tips and details allows us to look at the bigger picture. Optimal hydration is a process that needs to be monitored 24/7. It doesn’t happen over night and takes practice to get it right. Let Trago share the responsibility you, contact us to learn more.

Tags: heat, hydration, prevention, summer