Although Southern California has been having incredibly beautiful weather I’m aware that parts of the world are experiencing incredible heat.
One of my favorite electrophysiologists (cardiologist who specialized in electrical) is John Mandrola, MD. I have internet appointments with his blog. He is down to earth, a good writer and has good information. He also is an avid cyclist which has given me a glimpse into the obsessive world of cycling which I shall never physically experience!
I’ve excerpted his information on how to deal with heat as there are several points he makes that I wasn’t aware of.
Although on this post he’s talking about strenuous exercise it applies to a lot of people: Those with medical conditions; Seniors; Children who play hard outside etc.
So for those of you sweltering in the heat right now take a look at what the doctor writes:
“. . . mild dehydration and heat exposure can play havoc with susceptible patients. Now I’m talking to middle-agers with (or without) AF. [atrial fibrillation] The stressful effects of heat-illness–electrolyte depletion and high adrenaline levels–can act as pokers of the nests of cells that drive or initiate AF. You don’t want to poke these cells. mild dehydration and heat exposure can play havoc with susceptible patients.”
- “Hydrate immediately upon awakening. A number of years ago, I had to drink 30 ounces of water in the early morning before a kidney ultrasound. The sensations were amazing. I bopped around that entire day. Starting the day on ‘full’ can make a huge difference in dealing with the heat.
- Drink an entire bottle of water BEFORE [exercise] the run or ride. Even when it’s not hot, exercising in a fully hydrated state improves performance. A side effect: the need to negotiate an early nature break.
- Limit caffeine intake on hot days. I harbor little doubt that caffeine improves performance–in certain individuals–during short bursts of exercise done in moderate weather. I cannot imagine starting a cyclocross race without drinking a stiff Americano. But on hot days, the diuretic effect of caffeine wreaks havoc with heat regulation and electrolyte depletion. I don’t have studies; I just know this.
- Talk to yourself during [exercise] a hot ride/run. Keep telling yourself to drink fluids. For guys like me, with imaginary friends, talking to yourself comes naturally. You may need to practice.
- Colored water can help on long rides/runs [exercise] on hot days. I’m partial to orange and purple sport’s drinks. Of course, the best color drink needs to be individualized. Don’t ask me which proprietary formula best replenishes muscles. Just pick a good color. I say this with caution: The fizzy carmel-colored stuff in a red can also works for me.
- Avoid Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Under normal circumstances, regular use of NSAIDs is risky. One of the greatest risks of these drugs is kidney failure–the dialysis kind. Taking NSAIDs in a volume-depleted state increases the risk of this catastrophe. Let me repeat: Do not take NSAIDs while dehydrated.
- Don’t push through sickness. When fighting a viral infection—I say viral, because no one exercises through serious bacterial infections—you need to let your heart and body rest. By definition, infection means you are inflamed. Don’t risk pouring in more inflammation. Never add inflammation. That’s a severe health rule!
- Exercise in the morning. The advantage here is that you may learn to go bed early.
- Be alert for signs of heat-illness in yourself or your buddies. It’s pretty obvious. Being cold on a hot day is a really bad sign. Babbling is a less specific indicator.”