A blog by runners. For runners.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke in runners

Treating and preventing heat exhaustion and heat stroke in runnersRunning during the summer has a plethora of benefits – extra light, runner’s tans, not having to bundle up in a million layers, etc. – but there is one downfall for many runners: The heat.

In these dog days of summer everyone, it’s important to be extra vigilant about the power of the suns powerful rays. From protective layers, like a good hat or visor, to well-timed runs to making sure that you’re well hydrated, there are some measures we all know how to take.

But how much do you know about heat stroke or heat exhaustion?

Both heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be brought on by extended time out of the sun or excessive exercise where the body is unable to cool itself appropriately, by dehydration, or by lack in sodium.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Muscle cramping
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark colored urine
  • Headache
  • Weak, rapid heartbeat
  • Cool, moist, pale skin (this is especially common after exercise)

If not treated, heat exhaustion can turn into the much more serious and sometimes life-threatening heat stroke. Heat stroke symptoms include:

  • High temperature above 104 degrees
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid breathing and pulse
  • Severe headache
  • Confusion, slurred speech, or hallucinations
  • An absence of sweating

If you suspect you or someone you’re running with is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke:

  • Get out of the direct sun and into the shade or a cool environment (preferably air-conditioned)
  • Lie down and elevate your legs and feet
  • Remove excess clothing, shoes and socks
  • Drink cold water or a sport drink
  • Use cold compress on the forehead, under the armpits or on the groin
  • Lay in front of a fan
  • Monitor body temperature

If you believe it is heat exhaustion or if symptoms worsen seek medical attention immediately.

Written bLisa Chase.