High Alert: Heat Exhaustion

My first thought every morning when I wake up is, “what does it feel like outside today?” Last week, I rolled over to grab my phone and touched the small yellow sun on my five-inch-long screen. In true Southern fashion, it says it will be cool then hot, rainy then sunny, and windy then humid. Amid choosing what I will wear that day, I get another alert. At the top of my phone there was a small headline with two red exclamation points first.

High Alert: Weather this summer predicted to be hotter than normal with bad spells of thunderstorms.

Hydration is crucial in preventing heat exhaustion during the blistering summer months.

Oh great, I thought. In a place as humid as the beach combined with the already frequent hurricane warnings, this can not be good.

When I got to work that same morning, I browsed through my e-mail and noticed a smile indicting theme. In the U.S., sports are returning at a rapid pace due to vaccination rates and the re-opening of several complexes across the country.

Now, I do not know if it was the sound of the bad thunderstorm outside or my eyes glancing over an email about softball that reminded me of a tournament I was participating in as a child. I vividly remember seeing a catcher get to the dugout and throw her helmet to the ground, crying for help.

In a middle of the summer three-day district softball tournament, water was in high demand.

According to the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, heat exhaustion is the number one heat-related condition in active people nationwide. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body gets too hot and not enough blood can be pumped throughout the cardiovascular system resulting in immediate symptoms that include dizziness, clammy skin, a weak pulse, cramps, sudden weakness or tiredness, nausea, heavy sweating, and fainting.

To prevent heat exhaustion, the Mayo Clinic recommends wearing loose clothing, protecting your skin by wearing sunblock, and drinking plenty of fluids.

As for the catcher, I remember seeing her mom springing into action. She was a nurse and thankfully knew what was going on. She gave her daughter a bottle of water to replace fluids and a sports drink to replace electrolytes, placed a portable fan in front of her, and cooled her down some more with an ice-cold sports wrap before removing her from the game and taking her home.

With another blistering season on the horizon, it is important to know the signs of heat exhaustion if it occurs in front of you.

With the re-openings of outdoor complexes coming just in time for the heat index to reach the mid-nineties, remember to fill up those coolers and water jugs repeatedly to prevent heat exhaustion and the steps to take if you see someone feeling faint in front of you.