The heat is on………….
May and June are usually the hottest months in Singapore. Humidity and heat can really dampen one’s outdoor activity but with enough precautions, enjoy your outing!
This blog’s posting has been reduced somewhat while I concentrate more on cycling these days. It is enjoyable to cycle but after a few encounters with heat exhaustion and ultimately the beginnings of heat stroke, this article is as much to share information and also as a reminder for myself.
Heat exhaustion comes about when your core body temperature exceeds 37 degrees celsius.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Heavy sweating with cold, clammy skin
- Continuous thirst
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Confusion, anxiety or agitation
- Slow or weak heartbeats
If heat exhaustion continues without treatment, heat stroke follows. Core body temperature could reach above 40 degrees celsius. Extreme heat stroke is a medical emergency. Get treatment and help immediately.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Nausea, vomiting
- Hot, dry and clammy skin
- Breathless with rapid heart rate
- Reduced sweating
- Confusion and delirium
What to do when you encounter these symptoms? Treatment for Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
- Drink that isotonic drink, followed by water if you have them
- Find shelter or a shady area immediately
- Remove your hat or helmet and gloves
- Remove socks and shoes also if possible
- If wearing knee guards, elbow bandage, etc remove them immediately
- If wearing loose, long sleeve shirts, roll sleeve till elbow to provide better ventilation
- If nearby a toilet, wash face, neck, arms and legs with water
- Pour water over your head to cool down
- If you have a towel, handkerchief or bandanna, soak with water and put on face, neck or head
- If nearby toilets with showers, get wet now!
- If having stomach cramp with extreme thirst, avoid cold water especially from water cooler as this may induce phlegm and instigate vomiting. If no choice, just use tap water
- If symptoms continues, get help! Or call friends or family to pick you up. If alone, get help from people nearby. Call or flag a cab (useful for foldable bikes or bikes with quick release wheels)
- Once home, get into the shower immediately, then drink liquid continuously, get some quick digestible, energy filling food and rest!
- For heat stroke especially, very important to seek treatment immediately. Worst case scenario, call an ambulance! If a person is lying down or unconscious, remove hat or helmet and elevate feet. Cool down by placing wet towel on head, neck, armpits and groin
Those treatment suggestion comes from personal experience. We all have our ebb and flow in energy level. Know your strength and weaknesses. Build stamina by slowly increasing the distance over time. Those taking medicines like diuretics, antihistamines, sedatives, tranquilizers, stimulants, some medications for heart and blood pressure medications, anti-depression medications are more prone to heat exhaustion.
Additional, bring along sweets or lozenges for that quick sugar rush to counter that dizziness. Medicated oil can help to treat nausea and relieve muscle cramps. Even if you are jogging or cycling nearby your home, always good to bring your handphone, a few dollars and cents for venting machine, bus or cab fare, your IC, atm or credit card for emergency money. You never know when you may need them.
While the temperature is climbing and humidity is cloaking the air, take care while walking, running or cycling outdoors.
How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke When Hiking, Jogging or Cycling
- Exercise very early or late – before 10am or after 6pm
- Wear light coloured, light weight and fast drying clothes so sweat evaporate fast – avoid cotton
- Bring water and an isotonic drink along
- Research and plan your route – find out locations of water points and toilet – when to stop and turn back
- Find out the weather forecast for that day
- For those wearing baseball hats or caps, such hats have little ventilation, trap heat and worsen heat exhaustion. Remove them from time to time to air your head
- Trust your gut instinct – if something don’t feel right, listen! Either stop, turn back or change plan immediately
Cycling at Punggol Road
If you face that situation, on your own, feels like the distance home is so so far away….. Think of your family, friends or whatever keeps you going. Break down the distance to home in stages.
Think of one landmark on the route, example, that toilet around the next bend. March on and when you reach it, think of the next goal – maybe that food court at Changi Village. Next goal and the next one. So on and so on. Always remember to sip water continuously along the way. Stop if you must, take that 5 minutes break at a bus stop. For those who cycle, push the bike to conserve energy uphill if necessary.
When cycling, I do find that flat terrain use up more energy than undulating slopes. Or maybe it is just personal preference and fitness level. I would rather cycle along the slopes of Yio Chu Kang and Mandai Road than the Coastal Road and ECP. Part of the reason – there is no need to cycle downhill so there is time for recovery. So if you have a tendency for heat exhaustion like me, choose a route that best fit you.
So take care everyone while outdoors. Prevention is always better than cure. Be safe.
Understanding Heat-Related Illness — Symptoms
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke
Understanding Heat Stroke
Medications and Summertime Heat