Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Heat-Related Injuries

When the temperature rises and outdoor activity increases, it is a sure sign that summer is here. This can be great for our health as we are more active. However, as summer gets into full swing and temperatures reach dangerous levels, the risk to overall health can also be threatened. Heat exhaustion and heat-related injuries are very serious issues to look out for this summer.

Preventing heat exhaustion and heat-related injuries is fairly simple if you know a few facts. The first step to avoiding these serious conditions is understanding your own risk factors as well as your family members.

We all need to be careful when physically active outside during high temperatures. But some people are already at a greater risk for heat exhaustion and heat-related injury because of certain personal factors. These factors include but are not limited to age, overall health, body fat percentage, clothing, exposure to direct sun and hydration level before activity.

People with a high risk for heat exhaustion and heat-related injury include children, elderly individuals, people with a high body fat percentage, people wearing dark clothing and individuals with direct exposure from the sun.

Ways to prevent or decrease the likelihood of heat exhaustion and heat related injury:

  1. Hydrate adequately before engaging in physical activity in the heat.
  2. Wear light colored clothing as it does not absorb heat in the same way that dark clothing does.
  3. Take frequent breaks.
  4. Know your limits. If you have not been in a routine of exercising outside, it is not wise to start up a new program without building up your stamina and endurance.
  5. Avoid exercising in the heat if you have a fever. You will be more prone to over-heat quickly.
  6. Stay out of the direct heat as much as possible.
  7. Listen to heat warnings and advisories. Check your local weather to be aware of the expected conditions before planning to be outside doing any physical activity.
  8. Continue to hydrate frequently before, during and after physical activity.

Beyond the obvious health risks associated with heat exhaustion, other injuries can result from too much activity in the heat. As your body loses salt and water through perspiration, weakness and fatigue can set in very quickly. You could be more prone to injuries when your body isn’t able to perform as it should. You could be more likely to lose your balance, trip and generally use poor form during activity. These circumstances can easily result in a bad fall, strain, sprain or even a broken limb.

Just as important as preventing heat exhaustion and heat-related injury is recognizing the warning signs. Be sure to listen to your body and to stop activity if you are not feeling well.

Elbow Pain: When to Seek Treatment

Elbow pain is a common issue that millions of people deal with on a daily basis. It can greatly impact your day to day activities as well as create issues at work and play. If you are suffering from elbow pain, it is possible you already know the source of the pain. However, some individuals report having elbow pain without knowing the specific cause of this discomfort.

Identifying the source of your elbow pain can help in determining the best course of treatment. Did you suffer a one time injury? Do you have a condition such as arthritis? Does your work or exercise routine require repetitive movement with the elbow joint causing an overuse injury?

Here are some of the most common causes of elbow pain:

  • Elbow fracture
  • Elbow dislocation
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Bursitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Nerve issues (cubital tunnel syndrome or radial tunnel syndrome)
  • Elbow strains and sprains

Meeting with an orthopaedic surgeon, specifically one trained in elbow conditions, can help you determine not only the cause but also the best way to treat your elbow pain. Some types of elbow pain are easily treatable at home with rest and ice but other elbow issues will need medical attention.

If you have been suffering from pain for several days and the pain has either been constant or has gotten more intense, you may benefit from getting an evaluation by an orthopaedic surgeon. Further, if your pain is accompanied by swelling and/or bruising, you could have a more serious issue that requires medical treatment. If you have sustained an injury that has severely limited the use of your elbow without pain, seeing an orthopaedic surgeon might be the best option.

If you are hesitant to see an orthopaedic surgeon for fear that the treatment plan will include surgery, you can rest easy knowing that there may be alternatives. Surgery is optimal for some types of elbow pain but many elbow issues can be treated non-surgically. In some cases, physical therapy, rest and medication will be enough to relieve your pain and address the underlying issue.