Dealing with Summer Heat.


     Summer is upon us and like most of you Iíll be spending the majority of my time on the water. What I want to discuss with you in this article is how to avoid becoming a victim of this summerís heat wave. First off we need to point out and be able to quickly recognize the signs and symptoms of summer heat related illness.

      The human body functions within a very small temperature range. The body temperature of the deep tissues, commonly called the core body temperature, does not vary by more than a few degrees from 98.6 F.  Hypothermia simply means an unusually high body temperature. Hypothermia is an increase in the body temperature caused by heat transfer from the environment. It will present as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, water cramps, or heat stroke. Iíll discuss each of these rather briefly as it would be quite extensive to go in-depth into each.

      Heat cramps are painful spasms of voluntary muscles, usually caused by working in a hot environment without adequate fluid and sodium intake. Treatment of heat cramps consists of removing yourself or the person affected by the heat cramps from the hot environment and increasing your fluid and sodium intake. For severe cases of heat cramps, consult your physician.

       Heat exhaustion is by far the most common of all heat related illness. It is caused when blood pools in the bodyís vessels as the body attempts to give off excessive heat. Some of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are an increased heart rate, decreased urine output, history of low-fluid intake, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and headache.  A person spending all day in the summer heat can lose 1 to 2 liters of water an hour. Each liter contains 20 to 50 mq of sodium. This is why it is so important to replace lost body fluids through out the day as you lose them. If possible, a person should try to replace lost body fluids with an electrolyte replacement fluid that contains sodium. A good replacement fluid for example would be Gatorade, or another similar sports drink. If a person replaces lost body fluids with water alone and does not replace the lost sodium it can lead to a condition known as water intoxication. Weíll discuss water intoxication shortly. Once you experience the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion you need to remove yourself from the hot environment immediately. You will need to seek medical treatment as well. Heat exhaustion left untreated can lead to heat stroke, which is a life threatening illness.

     Water intoxication, as we talked about earlier, is when a person replaces lost body fluids with water alone, not replacing the lost sodium. Common signs of water intoxication are similar to those of heat exhaustion. You will have nausea, vomiting, headache and possible an altered mental status. Treatment for water intoxication is rather simple. You will need to eat foods high in sodium and restrict further water intake. If a person with water intoxication begins to have an altered mental status then they should seek medical attention immediately.

      Heat stroke is an ominous and deadly illness if not treated immediately by a physician in an emergency department. Heat stroke is generally characterized by a body temperature of 105 degrees F, cessation of sweating, an increased heart rate followed by a decreased heart rate, and confusion. Other signs and symptoms of heat stroke are disorientation, seizures, rapid shallow respirations that may slow later and coma. The stop of sweating has another factor that needs to be brought forward as well. If you have been exercising you may have profuse sweating. If you have not been exercising then your skin will be dry. If you or someone with you begins to exhibit signs of heat exhaustion you need to act quickly. The first thing you will need to do is to remove the person from the hot environment and call 911. While waiting for the Paramedics to arrive try to cool the person by placing them in an air-conditioned environment. Again I want to stress that heat exhaustion left untreated can lead to heat stroke.

     In summary, if a person uses their head and they realize that they are going to be out in a hot environment for a prolonged period of time, they should make preparations to have plenty of appropriate fluids with them to replace lost body fluids. Eat a good lunch while out on the water as this will help to replace some of the lost sodium. When Iím out on the water I carry 6 liters of water, 4 liters of Gatorade, and a lunch that almost always consists of a ham sandwich. If you take the time to replace lost body fluids as well as the lost sodium you will safely be able to enjoy the thrills of summer time fishing without any fears of a heat related illness. A few other hints to make your day on the water more enjoyable is to remain cool. If you feel like swimming then beach the boat next to a swimming area and have yourself an enjoyable swim. At a recent BFL tournament my father introduced me to a new product that he purchased at Wal-Mart for fewer than 5 dollars that is called the Aqua-cool. These things are great! You soak them in ice water for about 5 minutes and when they swell up you tie them around your neck and they provide you with a cool wrap all day. So, the next time your out on the river all day, drink plenty of water and Gatorade, eat a good lunch, and stay cool. Until next time remember CPR! Catch, Photo, and Release! Tight lines, Ken Nance.

    Ken Nance is sponsored by Triton Boats, Mason Dixon Marine and Polaris, Sliding Weight Company, Kick'n Bassģ Fish Attractants, Silverbuddy, Eat-em-up Bait Company, J.R.s Custom Rods, Caps Tackle, Susky Bugs, Bonzai Bait Company, Cabin Creek Bait Company and Nichols Bait Company.

All articles are re-printed with permission from Ken Nance from his web site