Active Quiroprática, Chiropractic Clinic
serving Lagoa Carvoeiro Portimão Silves Porches Lagos Monchique, Algarve, Portugal
Dr. Christopher Bock

American Dr of Chiropractic / Chiropractor

(+351) 966 706 606

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Water? But, I drank a glass yesterday!
Heat Injuries and othe stuff. Part 2

Ok, so you've been doing a good job of drink water, but yet you are still feeling not so well. Even the best of us can run into problems, and quickly.  So what are those problems, and how do you recognize them... pretty easy actually. The key is recognizing the problem early, and acting immediately. The longer you wait, the longer the road back is, AND, as you fall deeper into those injuries your brain is less likely to be functioning well, and our reasoning goes out the window. With the weather HOT in the Algarve (a "functional" desert during the summer), you can have a problem even inside a building that doesn't have air conditioning or fans moving the air to cool you.    So... grab a glass of water and here we go.

When we become dehydrated in the Algarvian summer, our cooling system begins to fail, and we can become HYPER-thermic (too hot). Meaning our core temperature is just too high (normal temp 37C / 98.6F). Most of us know how badly we feel when we have a high fever, hyperthermia due to dehydration is very similar. Our system is chugging along (just like a car produces heat), and if it can't stay within a fairly narrow range of temperature, we can literally "seize up" (just like a car engine).

Heat Injuries (in order of least to most life threatening). Prevent all of these injuries by: adequate water intake, a few salty snacks, taking it easy, get into the shade or breeze, be mindful of your temperature.

1) Heat Cramps A condition normally for those who are walking, hiking or exercising a lot, they get low on water and sodium, causing our muscles to cramp up.

Treatment: resting, drinking water, having a salty snack to replace the sodium, massage and stretch the muscle that is cramping. If symptoms persist, then seek medical care. The cramps can last from minutes to quite a long time. This is not life threatening.

2) Heat Exhaustion Like heat cramps, it is usually associated with activity, BUT it can happen to tourists from simply sitting/sunbathing in the hot sun, cooking themselves (particularly if they are not acclimated to the heat, which can take a week or more). Again too little water and/or salt intake is the problem (and many times, too much alcohol consumption).

Symptoms include: 
pale clammy skin,
profuse sweating 
(body is dumping lots of water to cool you), and 
rapid shallow breathing

All strategies of your body trying to cool itself off, since it still has the ability to do so. Other signs may include, headaches, confusion, being faint or light-headed.

Treatment: Get in the Cool Shade and Relax (minimize your body creating more heat), Remove Clothing (since you are still able to sweat, let that moisture evaporate and cool you), Water and Salty snacks. Recovery time can be a day or more, so seek medical help if you are not getting better.

3) Heat Stroke This is the BIG one, a true emergency, needing medical help immediately. 

Now your cooling system is not functioning! You do NOT have to be exercising too much, you could just be sitting in the hot sun, or even in a hot building with no air movement, it is just that you system can't cool itself for whatever reason. Your core temperature is climbing above 40C (105F), you are cooking inside, particularly your brain and heart. Death can occur quickly. So you must act FAST!

Symptoms are (the opposite of Heat Exhaustion)... 
fainting may be the first sign, (not enough blood/water for the brain)
dry hot, sometimes red skin 
(NO sweat/water left, so blood vessels open under the skin in last attempt to cool itself = redness of skin. As blood is sent to the skin there is less blood for the heart to pump, and less blood reaching the brain), 
rapid pulse 
(heart struggling), 
dilated pupils, confusion, unconsciousness
 (brain struggling).

Treatment:  Need to get to hospital as fast as possible. If you are waiting for medical care to arrive, stay in the shade, remove clothing, douse yourself with water particularly your head (25% of body's blood goes here) and fan yourself, use ice compresses or wet clothing (head, neck, armpit, groin), immerse in cool water (not ice as this may suddenly shock the system). 

Years ago, one of the first grand explorers of the Grand Canyon used a simple, but ingenious strategy for staying cool in the blistering heat. He'd packed along three or four cotton shirts. As he left one water source, (it could be miles and hours to the next water pool), at each trickle of water he would dampen all the shirts then put them in a plastic bag. Each half hour he would put one of the wet shirts on and remain cool. When that shirt dried out, he'd replace it with the next wet shirt. While hiking in the desert, and also at the beach, I have often used this technique and it works amazingly well. Really helps drop your core temperature, to stay cool and comfortable.

4) One other quick heat related injury (well, sort of). Can you drink TOO much water? In a way, yes you can. Being properly hydrated is a balance between the right amount of water and electrolytes (salt).

Hyponatraemia can occur if your water consumption is very high without enough intake of a small amount of salt.

Common symptoms are: nausea, vomiting, confusion, headache, lethargy, fatigue, restlessness, muscle weakness or cramps.

Remedy: eat a few salty snacks. 

Living in the Algarvian "functional" desert is much easier and safer with just a little forethought and planning. Always have with you some water, and possibly some salty snacks.

Enjoy the Algarve this summer!
Dr Bock

P.S. Of course all of this is true for anywhere that it is hot in Portugal or Spain. So take heed if you live or travel in the Alentejo, or take a trip to southern Spain.

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Active Quiroprática, Chiropractic Clinic
Dr. Christopher Bock
















































































Centrally Centro located Chiropractic Physiotherapy Quiropratica Quiropratico in Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal
Formerly associated with Lutz Quiropratica Quiropratico, 2013 and 2014