Beat The Heat Before It Beats You

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

Temperatures in the mid 90's and a lack of clouds to provide shade can make outdoor activities on the western slope hazardous to you health.
But there are some simple steps you can take to beat the heat before it beats you.

Sarah Johnson has lived in grand junction for fifteen years and enjoys the outdoors. "We mountain bike a lot out here," says Sarah Like her, summertime draws many people outside to soak up the sun and get back to nature.

Officials say that too much heat can be deadly. "Heat exhaustion is the first sign that you are coming down with an illness," says Kristy Emerson of the Mesa County Health Department. The symptoms of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps and dizziness and Emerson says "if not treated then it can progress into heat stroke." Heat stroke happens when your body just can't deal with the heat and starts to shut down. "You actually stop sweating, you're completely dehydrated with nausea and vomiting and disoriented," says Emerson. In this case, immediate steps need to be taken to prevent long term damage or death.

By following some simple rules you can prevent this from happening. Emerson says, "avoid alcohol, caffeine and don't wait till your thirsty by then it's too late. So loading up before your activity is a good plan. "I try to drink a lot of water before we ride," says Johnson. Also, keep a consistent flow during your activities. You should also limit your time in the sun when it's really hot. Johnson says, "I take breaks, there's not a lot of shade but if we can find some we crawl under a rock, whatever helps." If possible try to plan your activities in the morning or evening when it's cooler, and as always wear sunscreen. "If your body's getting burned it's going to affect its ability to cool," says Emerson.

Probably the most important tip of all, "we recommend you stay out of the extreme heat," says Emerson. Because a little bit of planning can go a long way. Emerson also says, "the first thing you should do if you come across someone you believe may be suffering from heat stroke is to call 911 immediately and follow their instructions until help arrives.


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