Summer running may include coping with syncope

Coping with heat syncope can cause summer runners to swoon.

What is heat syncope?

It’s the dizziness, light-headedness, fainting, or even blackout that can occur when a person experiences prolonged exposure to extreme heat. Usually, this heat-related illness occurs when the blood vessels dilate to the point at which blood flow to the brain is reduced. Heat syncope is frequently accompanied by a headache and increased pulse rate. Nausea, vomiting, a general confusion, and a panicky restlessness may be evident as well.

Those who exercise or otherwise exert themselves in hot conditions are particularly prone to heat syncope. And it often strikes after an individual rises from a sitting or lying position (especially after exercise) or stands in the hot sun for a long period.

I experienced heat syncope personally after a recent race in the summer sun.

The temperature soared into the 90s (F), and the humidity was high. Despite drinking plenty of water and Gatorade during the double-digit-mile race and eating a chilled banana afterwards (with a cold, wet towel wrapped around my neck), I found myself reeling on the walk to the post-race shuttle bus.

I climbed aboard the non-air-conditioned bus and found a seat. Immediately, the world began to whir inside my own head. My vision grew dark and clouded. My stomach churned. I leaned forward and rested my forehead against the seat in front of me.

That’s all I remember. 

Ten minutes later, the shuttle bus stopped at the remote parking area. I stirred awake, as people around me rose to disembark from the bus.

I staggered to my own car and slumped in the seat for a few minutes, with the air conditioning blasting. I drank an entire bottle of water and crunched a handful of pretzels. Eventually, I regained the wherewithal to pilot my way home.

Not exactly how I intended to finish that race.

Heat syncope is scary, while it’s happening. Sure, I survived. But it was no picnic.

Labor Day Weekend marks the unofficial end of summer for many of us. But the mercury’s still climbing into the stratosphere around here.

How do you deal with heat syncope?

Finding a sheltered or shady space in which to rest and cool off is important. Drinking a cool beverage also helps.

Adapted from public domain photo

Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter. Please visit my Amazon author page as well. And I am happy to share my RUNDERDOG ambassador code for 10% off on Bondi Band Athletic Headbands, Accessories, and Fashions. (Simply enter the code at online checkout.).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...