Dangerous risk of heatstroke increases with temperatures



MORGANTOWN W.Va. – West Virginia University’s Athletic Training director warns active people about extreme temperatures.

Samantha Scarneo-Miller, director of WVU’s athletic training program, believes that casual athletes and even non-athletes can use tips from athletic training to protect themselves from exertional heatstroke.

According to Scarneo-Miller, exercising produces heat which, when paired with high temperatures, can cause the body to fair at temperature regulating. This condition is known as uncompensableheat stress. If you’re going to be active outside, look for the following signs that the heat might be negatively affecting you:

  • Increased sweating
  • Feeling tired
  • Dizziness
  • Increased thirst
  • Nausea

“Core temperature can rise to critical levels—typically about 105°F—in 25 minutes for some people,” said Scarneo-Miller. She said that she takes extra precautions in extreme heat to ensure that athletes are performing safely and suggests that casual athletes do the same.

This runner is doing all the right things, running after the peak heat of the day, wearing light-colored clothing and taking a break. (WVU Photo/Chris Young)

She recommends performing outdoor physical activity during cooler times of the day, before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Physically active people should also pay special attention to hydration.

“Check your urine color,” said Scarneo-Miller. “Light, like lemonade, is good; dark, like apple juice, is bad.”

Adequate rest, good nutrition, and wearing light colors when outside can also decrease the risk of overheating, according to the WVU athletic trainer. Dark, tight-fitting clothing can make the effects of the heat more intense.

If you do see signs of uncompensableheat stress, you can lower your core body temperature quickly by immersing yourself in cold water. Scarneo-Miller keeps cold water immersion tubs ready when athletes are performing in extreme heat. “It’s important to recognize the signs of exertional heatstroke and treat it as soon as possible,” she said. “Because it’s 100 percent survivable with proper recognition and care.”

To read Samantha Scarneo-Miller’s full quotes, click here.

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