There are so many things to consider when we think about over-all wellness and really taking care of our bodies. As we are in the midst of summer, we need to be mindful about the effects of the heat. We tend to be drawn to the pool, and beaches, and sun tanning for that added depth of color. Those of us that live in areas where we have cold temperatures for several months out of the year, feel it necessary to make the best out of the warmer temps by trying to do everything outdoors like running, exercising and socializing – even to the detriment of ourselves.
Your internal body temperature is around 98.6 °F (37 °C). The body does not like to stray too far in any direction for this set point. When your body becomes over-heated you may experience some tell-tale signs. Muscle cramps are one of the first signals that your body isn’t happy. When you sweat your body loses electrolytes which causes cramping.
If you are not use to the heat, your body can also retaliate by dilating blood vessels to try and radiate as much heat away from your system as possible. This causes the blood to pool in your ankles which causes heat edema.
One very common condition is heat rash. This occurs when the sweat pores become blocked and tiny red spots develop on your skin. Not only are they unsightly, but they have a prickly sensation as well.
Heat has an effect on you physically – but it affects your brain as well. Many find it hard to function on tasks in hot conditions. You may experience irritability, have a hard time concentrating, or even become dizzy and incoherent.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can literally be the portals to death’s door. If you experience any of the symptoms noted above or if you find yourself vomiting, having diarrhea, feeling tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, have a seizure or pass out – get medical attention immediately!
Most importantly – listen to your body. Take steps to ensure that you are enjoying the summer in a healthy, responsible way.