Thursday, June 14

When You Can't Take The Heat

I've been out of commission for the past couple of days due to my inability to know when to quit. I get a little compulsive when it comes to most projects and just keep right on going, because I know I am almost finished. Truth be told, I'd be better off (and the project as well), if I'd take a break somewhere in the middle.

I'd definitely be better off to take frequent breaks when working outdoors. I carry a hand towel and mop my forehead and takes swigs off a Diet Pepsi. I just get a bit too carried away with my grubbing in the yard.

My first year back here in Virginia, JB had to run me to the ER because I became dehydrated after working outside during a period of high humidity. I think it was a clear cut case of heat exhaustion. Here's what I have learned from that 4-hour visit in the ER.

You have to eat. When it's hot, food is the last thing on our mind. But, food is the source of energy that keeps the old bod moving along.

You need potassium. You can eat bananas, drink orange juice or have lots of Gatorade.
You need water. Most sources have indicated 4 8-ounce glasses a day.

Limit caffeine and alcohol. If you have wine in the evening and coffee in the am, and then go work in the yard during high humidity, you just might be in for trouble.

In the 1960's the World Health Organization (WHO) developed an oral solution containing sugar, which improved the absorption of salt/water preparations, saving the lives of many dehydrated persons in remote areas. This solution can be prepared at home by mixing the following:

  1. Table Salt - 3/4 teaspoon
  2. Baking Powder - 1 teaspoon
  3. Sugar -4 tablespoons
  4. Orange juice - 1 cup
  5. Water - 1 quart/liter

This beverage can be taken in small, frequent sips, and is often tolerated in the face of nausea and vomiting. Several commercial preparations are available, but since their composition varies, your physician should be contacted to decide which replacement solution (if any) is best. Changes in the type or amount of fluid replacement may be needed as symptoms improve. Care must be taken to avoid using these solutions improperly.

Food intake should be continued if at all possible, except for high fiber fruits and vegetables. There is controversy regarding ingesting milk products since the ability to absorb milk sugar (lactose) may be reduced.

According to emedicine, Heat illness is a major cause of preventable morbidity worldwide.

Be careful out there (and I'll try to do the same.)


Imperatrix said...

Thanks for that recipe. I am taking note of it, because heat stroke is something that worries me in the summer...

goldennib said...

Very good warning and lots of interesting info.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Or, you could hire the work done while you eat and drink in the background. Safest remedy yet.

KathyR said...

Gatorade. Blecch.

I hate to be hot.

Christine said...

Thanks for the reminder. I used to do archeology in Virginia and the humidity (and bravado) got the better of many.

slouching mom said...

Hope you're feeling OK now. Ben was diagnosed with heat exhaustion when he was five (the combination of a hot day and the onset of a high fever with a virus), and he was making no sense when he was talking to me. Scared me like nothing before or since.