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Feeling Good Naturally! newsletter
July 13, 2012

Heat Stroke and Summer

Heat Stroke.

The heat this year is stifling - out here in the west the temperatures easily rise to three digits - even in the mountains. With forest fires there has been smoke in the air which adds to the problem, and yet, I still see people walking, running, hiking and cycling.

If you go out in the early morning it helps by twenty degrees (at least in the mountains) but sometimes the low temperature of the day is still pretty high and it heats up rapidly.

Problems caused by overheating can come upon you quickly - especially in the elderly and the young.

Less serious issues like dehydration, sunburn, and a crummy workout, can turn into really big situations.


Heat stroke can happen to anyone. It is caused by allowing your body to become overheated by prolonged exposure to high temperatures or by being physically active when the temperatures are high - and especially if you do both.

The main problem is that we often don't realize that we are overheated until it is too late.

If you are an avid exerciser, you may not realize that even when you have a fit body, if you are not careful you can suffer from too much heat.

According to Mayo Clinic, "High humidity, certain health problems and some medications increase your risk of heatstroke." "…untreated it can cause damage to your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles.

These injuries get worse the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death."


So if you love to hike, run, walk, cycle, or even just to play sports outside in the summertime (baseball, Frisbee, shooting hoops, etc), be careful, and be aware.

Luckily there are symptoms - if we don't choose to ignore them.


Prevention.

You can help prevent heat stroke or dehydration by preparing before you go.

Make Herbal Tea

Here is a great herbal tea that works better than your favorite sports drink. It is simple to make up and use and you can purchase the herbs by clicking this link. Mountain Rose Herbs.

Combine equal parts of

  • nettle
  • red clover
  • oatstraw
  • rose hips
  • alfalfa
  • peppermint -I love to add this to mine as well just for the taste.

Mix together, place in a glass jar with a tight lid, such as a canning jar, and keep in a cool, dark place.

These herbs contain not only sodium and potassium, which are of major importance in maintaining proper acidity (ph) in the blood and in maintaining nerve and muscle functions, but also contain many trace minerals needed to keep you healthy.

These include calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, chromium, potassium, silica, and other trace minerals. Calcium and magnesium help build healthy bones, ease muscle spasms and cramping, and reduce inflammation. Zinc enhances immune system functioning, while chromium helps regulate blood-sugar levels.


The night before you know you have a big day in the sun, or any time really, put 1 ounce of the dried herb mix, which is about a cup, in a clean canning jar. Fill the jar with boiling water and put the lid on tight.

Let this steep overnight and in the morning strain the herbs out, then add honey to taste, if desired, or drink it plain, and drink a tall glass full. Place the rest in the refrigerator to chill.

You can also follow this link to learn more about making infusions and decoctions.

  • Be sure that you drink 2 glasses of water or herbal infusion up to 2 hours before you begin your day.
  • Be sure you take enough water with you to sip water about every 15 minutes. You should drink about 8 ounces every hour. You can purchase packets of powered drink to mix in your water which will contain minerals to help prevent losing your electrolytes. Purchase them at a health food store to avoid all of the artificial ingredients, dyes and sugar in your typical grocery store drink mixes.
  • Always be sure to stop and rest often. Allow your body to cool down.


Heat stroke in Dogs

Protect your pets too - especially when cycling with your dog running behind. When our sons lived in Hawaii one of our favorite dogs suffered heat stroke even though the temperatures were comfortable and the breeze cooling. The water in the canteen wasn't enough and he didn't make it.

It was a very sad day.

The same thing happened later to a different dog while on a hike. When we noticed him beginning to labor, we rushed him home, hosed him down and cooled him off - undoubtedly saving his life.

I was aware of another dog who suffered the same symptoms just from riding in the back of a pickup on a sunny summer day.

You can share your electrolyte drinks with your pets as well.


Symptoms

Some symptoms we may experience are:

  • Our sweating stops - when you are exercising, however, your skin may still feel moist
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle cramps
  • Flushed skin - getting red in the face, often caused by not sweating
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Racing Heart Rate
  • Your head feels so hot it might catch on fire
  • Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness


Heat Stroke First Aid.

If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or someone else (including your pet)

  • stop what you are doing
  • remove excess clothing
  • go inside where it is air conditioned if possible or sit in the shade at least
  • Drink water - cool if possible - or other nonalcoholic beverages
  • wet a cloth and place it on your head or neck, even in your armpits or groin
  • take a cool shower

Re-hydrate.

  • Drink a large glass or two of your delicious, cold herbal infusion.
  • Eat a slice or two of watermelon or cantaloupe! Not only is watermelon 90% water, cantaloupe 95%, but they are extremely high in potassium, calcium and magnesium which helps control our body's electrolyte balance.

    Potassium also supports muscle and nerve function, as well as helping to rebalance and normalize the heartbeat, thus controlling blood pressure and preventing strokes.

    Kiwis are also high in potassium and other trace minerals.

Be sure that you also protect your eyes from the glaring sun, and try some homemade remedies if you get sunburned.

Don't stop exercising. If you can't get out early in the morning perhaps you should workout at the gym or in the living room for the hot months of the year.

When you do plan a long day in the sun, be sure to watch for symptoms in yourself and those you are with - from the youngest to the oldest.

Good luck. Have a great summer.

Nancy


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