Heat illness is no joke—especially in the summertime. Getting overheated can happen fast—often with little to no warning. Here’s all you need to know about heat related illnesses, and how to kick heat illness symptoms naturally. Heat Illness: The 4 Stages. Before we get to the remedies, let’s first talk about the four different stages of heat illness and how heat illness happens. Heat-related have four stages: Overheating Heat cramps Heat exhaustion Heatstroke. Stage 1: Slight Overheating Uncomfortable overheating that entails a slight electrolyte imbalance often from an intense exercise or a hot environment (such as sitting outside in the heat for too long). You respond to the discomfort fairly early and symptoms typically resolve fairly quickly after being removed from the heat, drinking water and/or cooling down. Symptoms: Lightheadedness or mild headache. Feeling hot inside. Mild sweating. Dry mouth/Thirst. Intuitively seeking relief (coolness, fluids, etc.) What to Do Remove yourself from the heat. Cool down—A/C, cold towel, cool fluids. Sip some water Stage 2: Heat Cramps Muscle spasms from the loss of salt and water through exercise or heat. Symptoms: Heavy sweating. Often flares during intense exercise. Muscle pain or spasms during or after exercise or heat exposure. Cramps are often experienced in the abdomen, arms and/or What to Do Move to a cool place. Rest. Drink a homemade electrolyte drink (1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt in 16 oz. water) Stage 3: Heat Exhaustion Body fatigue and imbalance as a result of your body over-heating. Often occurs after being exposed to heat for an extended period of time, particularly when the heat index is above 90 degrees (ex. 2-4 hours outside). Symptoms: Heavy sweating. Cold, pale and clammy skin. Fast weak pulse. Nausea or vomiting. Muscle cramps. Seeing spots. Tiredness or weakness. Dizziness. Headache. Confusion. Fainting (passing out) What to Do Move to a cool place. Loosen your clothes. Put cool, wet cloths on your body or take a cold shower/bath. Drink cool water with a pinch of sea salt. Put feet up a wall—in the air—with a cool towel/washcloth over your face/body. IV Fluids at a local IVBar or Urgent Care may be helpful if symptoms don’t begin to improve within 1 to 2 hours of at home treatment Stage 4: Heat Stroke Also called “sunstroke”— the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body’s temperature is 104ºF or higher, and it is a life-threatening medical emergency. Symptoms include: Nausea and vomiting. Headache. Dizziness or vertigo. Fatigue. Hot, flushed, dry skin. Dry skin. Rapid heart rate. Profound sweating. Shortness of breath. Decreased urine. Blood in urine or stool. Increased body temperature. Confusion, delirium, or loss of consciousness. Body temperature of 104+ What to Do Seek medical care—ER or call your doctor. Move to a cool place. Loosen your clothes. Apply ice packs to the neck, armpits, and groin. Administer intravenous fluids that promote cooling and hydration 5 Risk Factors for Heat Illness. How do you get heat illness in the first place?! Heat-related illness can happen to anyone, but there are a handful of factors that may put you more at risk, including: Heat Index Above 90. This is inevitable in many climates—especially during the summer. Try to avoid outdoor time during the “high noon” hours when the sun and temps are the hottest. Outdoor Exercise Whether you run, bike, swim or CrossFit in an open air gym, if you’re outside for too long without proper electrolyte replenishment or cooling techniques, you set yourself up for heat related symptoms. Drinking Alcohol Alcohol + hot weather do not mix. Alcohol is a diuretic–meaning that it promotes dehydration–and interferes with your body’s ability to regulate its own temperature. Not Drinking Enough the Day Before. Falling behind on your daily water intake can catch up with you and before you know it, it may be too late. Aim to drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. Too Much at Once. Most people can handle a little bit of high heat—but the overload (too much too fast) is what catches up with you—like your morning bootcamp outside, followed by pool or lake time for several hours in the heat of the day, followed by a heated power yoga that night. A little bit goes a long way. 3 Natural Remedies to Treat Heat Illness At Home #1: Cool Down The #1 treatment for heat-related illness is to cool down and restore balance—no matter what form of illness you get. Here are a handful of home remedies you can use if you find yourself getting overheated: #2: Use Home Remedies* Peppermint Oil. Rub essential oils like peppermint on your pulse point and diffuse them in the air. Natural Ibuprofen*. Liposomal curcumin (1 tsp) + Bosewellia AKBA herbs have the same anti-inflammatory affects as ibuprofen or Tylenol to smash a headache without smashing your live. Adaptogens or CBD Oil*. In addition to liposomal curcumin and Boswellia AKBA, adrenal adaptogens like Ashwaganda and Cordyceps, as well as CBD oil can help balance inflammation and cortisol in the body (stress). Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil. Keep it on hand at all times for daily use, with an extra teaspoon to bust inflammation when imbalance strikes. Cold Therapy. Hop into a cold shower. Ice Pack. Place an icepack on your forehead. Cold Fan. Sit in front of a cool fan—let it blaze. Feet up the Wall. If you feel dizzy, lie on your back with your feet up the wall and a cold rag over your eyes. *Discuss any supplemental supports with your healthcare provider. #3: Make a Homemade Electrolyte Drink “Electrolytes” get a lot of hype when we talk about heat, but what are electrolytes?! Electrolytes are chemicals that conduct electricity when mixed with water. They include: Magnesium. Sodium. Potassium. Calcium. Chloride. Phosphate. Bicarbonate. Your muscles and neurons are sometimes referred to as the “electric tissues” of the body—electrolytes contribute to the electricity in your tissues. Electrolytes help: regulate nerve and muscle function. hydrate the body. balance blood acidity and pressure. help rebuild damaged tissue. The body is pretty amazing at keeping electrolytes in balance without sugary sports drinks or tablets needed, however when they get out of balance with heat illness, it’s a sign of stress going on in the body. Electrolyte Imbalance: Signs & Symptoms Common signs and symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include: Headache. Fatigue. Muscle cramping or twitching. Shortness of breath. Weakness. Bone or muscle wasting. Changes in blood pressure. Confusion. Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat. Numbness. Tingling. Seizures. Twitching. Convulsions. What to Do About Electrolyte Imbalance?! Homemade Electrolyte Drinks Move over Gatorade (and sugar and additives). Get your electrolytes on with one of these concoctions: Limeade Ingredients Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (1/4 cup) Fresh Squeezed Lime 3/4 cup filtered water Generous pinch Himalayan sea salt Optional: Cherries (tossed in the water for a cherry limeade) Raspberry Lemonade Ingredients 1/2 tsp Magnesium Calm + Calcium Raspberry Lemonade 1 cup filtered water Generous pinch Himalayan sea salt Optional: Lemon wedge Cucumber Mint Ingredients 1 cup filtered water Generous pinch Himalayan sea salt 1/4 Sliced Cucumber Slices Handful fresh mint herbs Note: If symptoms of heat illness worsen or don’t get better within a few hours of rehydration and home remedies, evaluation of your electrolytes may be warranted with a doctor, followed by replacement or rebalancing of electrolytes through IV fluids.