The same sun that brings spring flowers can also take a harmful toll on those venturingoutdoors after a long winter.

The athletes of Tyler Junior College are usually prepared for the heat, because most sports require that they continue to train throughout the entire year while constantly being reminded to stay hydrated and stretched.

However, students who aren’t athletes may not be aware of the dangers and precautions needed before they jump into the summer’s heat. Typical injuries or illnesses during the spring season are usually heat-related.

“The three main heat illnesses and injuries are heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat strokes. Heat cramps are the only real injury out of the three, the rest are illnesses,” said Joe Garza, a student trainer at TJC.

A heat stroke, an abnormal elevation in body temperature, is the worst of the three. It is caused by dehydration of the body in extreme heat. Those who experienceheat stroke are urged to seek immediate medical help. It is extremely important to cool the victim’s body with water and ice immediately.

Heat cramps, however, aren’t as severe. They are caused by a loss of salt level and dehydration of the muscles. These symptoms in turn, cause the muscles to cramp. It isimportant to stop all physical activities, drink water or clear juices and only call for medical help if cramps continue for over an hour.

The last of these, heat exhaustion, is less serious. It is caused by an over exposure to hot environments.

Heat exhaustion signs are heavy sweating, paleness, dizziness and headache. The best treatment for heat exhaustion is to drink cool liquids, rest, take a cool showeror bath and possibly change into lightweight clothing.

“The biggest thing [to prevent heat related problems] is to drink plenty of water, along with eating a good diet. Don’t eat too much fried foods before or after your goingto work out,” Garza said.

Fried foods can cause lethargy and a drop in energy level. No one is going to have a very successful workout without a good energy level.

“Of course, water is number one. Gatorade is good during competition to replace what you’ve lost. When you’re done with your activity, your body has lost a lot of nutrients and it’s important to replenish,” said Garza, again to emphasize on the importance of drinking water as a precaution to avoid heat related problems.

The summer heat is something that can really affect individuals if they aren’t prepared for it ahead of time. TJC student Luis Flores learned this lesson first hand during his first workout in the spring heat.

“It was hot, but mainly humid. It was supposed to rain that day but it didn’t. I was running from the school to a park downthe road. The heat put a stress on my body. I didn’t want to push myself too hard and get a heat stroke so I had drank a bottle of water before I ran, because you’ve got to stay hydrated if you’re going to be out there for a while,” said Flores regarding his precautions taken.

“The next time I go I’ll probably wear a baseball cap and drink more water.”

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