Thursday, August 03, 2006

Feeling the Heat

Man, was it ever hot today. Even from the word go this morning at work (the word usually coming at 6:00 am) it was just sticky hot. I'm not usually one to be greatly affected by heat, but this was something else entirely. It was like I was having to swim through the air to get anywhere.

I went into one of our work buildings this morning at 7:30 am to help out one of our other workers. We were in an elevated area in a building with no air conditioning - heck, no air movement at all for that matter. I was sweating like crazy in no time at all. By the time I got back to my office after an hour or so, my shirt was completely soaked. I was able to grab a spare shirt I had around for just this eventuality, and I laid my shirt across the back of a chair to dry out.

I drank three 12 oz. Gatorades and 36 oz. of water over the next hour, and I was still having trouble getting rehydrated. I drank a lot more water over lunch as well.

I went back into the building again this afternoon to help another guy find the stuff he needed to look at. We were in the basement level, and I still was sweating profusely after only 15 minutes in there. I just had to keep that shirt on, though, as I was out of spares.

The good thing is, at least I was sweating. If you are ever out in the heat and you stop sweating, or you notice someone else has stopped sweating, worry. That's a pretty serious sign of heat stress and things can go bad very quickly.

Amazingly, I really haven't had too many problems like that on the bike. I guess it's because I'm constantly drinking water on the bike. There's also the effect of the 'apparent wind' to help keep one cooler than if standing still. But I always watch out for the ones on long rides who are running out of water.

The worst problem I have had in recent memory was on a 4th of July ride from Wally's house one year. We were quite a ways into the ride and Dave L. ran out of water (and was having real difficulty). I still had most of a water bottle left, so I gave him half of what I had left. I won't say that was a mistake - 'cause he really needed it - but it ended up being a lot further to the next place we could get water than any of us had realized. By the time I got there, I'd been out of water for several miles and was suffering. Dave had perked back up after I'd given him some of mine, but was out again at that point, too. Even though we both got plenty of water at that stop, I don't think either of us really recovered all that much from that. It's always harder to rehydrate than to stay hydrated in the first place.

So I guess you've figured out the point of this post. Folks, it's hot out there these days, and I mean all over the country. Even if you aren't involved in athletic activity (but especially if you are), DRINK enough water and/or sports-drink to keep yourself out of trouble when you are out in the heat, 'kay? And avoid alcohol and caffeine (yes, I said caffeine) if at all possible, as they affect your body's ability to regulate temperature and shed heat properly.

Do it for me, do it for you.

No comments: