Tips for Preventing Heat Stroke
In a study conducted last year, researchers noted that the risk of an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) flare was higher during heat waves than during normal times of the year (1). While it isn't clear exactly why this is the case, it may be due to the added stress heat can place on the body. Regardless of the cause, there are several things you can do to mitigate your own risk during the hottest days of the year.
Heat stroke can be a very big concern this time of year. If you have IBD, it is important to know your risk and what to look for. Being educated on heat stroke signs may save your life or someone you love's this summer.
Double check the medications you may be taking. Steroids, anti-spasmotic drugs (like Levsin or atropine for example), belladonna alkaloids and some drugs for depression used in IBD treatments and can increase the risk for heat stroke. Talk with your pharmacist and discuss if any of your current medications may make you more likely to suffer from heat-related illness.
Keep an eye out for the signs of heat stroke when you are out and about this summer. Some symptoms may include: headache, dizziness, muscle weakness or cramps, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, shallow or rapid breathing and hot, red, and dry skin. if you see any of these signs then move indoors, hydrate and contact your physician.
Here are some more tips for fighting the heat.
Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink enough liquids and concentrated beverages that do not contain caffeine or alcohol, which can further dehydrate you. Water is always a wonderful choice! Divide your weight in half and aim for drinking that number of ounces of water per day. Remember, you will need even more water if you are working out heavily or spend extended time in the sun.
Prevent burns. Sunburns can put further stress on your body and also prevent the body from cooling properly. Use an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply every 80 minutes, or as indicated by the product of your choice. It takes a shot glass full of sunscreen to adequately cover the body, so be sure you use enough to prevent burns.
Dress appropriately. Wear light colored, loose fitting and lightweight clothing. This will help to reflect the heat and keep you cooler. Some clothing comes with an SPF, or you can buy a special laundry add-in that can make your current clothing carry an SPF, which generates even more protection.
Hit the A/C during the hottest time of day. Once the temperature soars, move your outside activities indoors. If you do not have air conditioning, make plans for someplace you can go if the temperatures become too hot. Libraries, churches or shopping malls can be good choices to beat the heat.
Be safe in the heat and you can have a wonderful summer and keep your IBD in check.