Not hydrating enough and not protecting yourself from the sun translates into more incidents in the mountains related to the high temperatures of recent summers.
That is why it is important that before leaving the route, whether it is trekking, cycling, trail running or any physical activity in the open air, you take into account a series of tips that can avoid a rescue or major injuries.
Difference between sunstroke or heat stroke
Both sunstroke and heat stroke are situations that can occur on a very hot day in the mountains, after prolonged exposure to the sun or extreme heat, which prevent the body from regulating its temperature correctly.
Insolation is usually caused by long exposure of the head to heat or the sun without protection, thus causing an increase in temperature that the body cannot regulate.
To avoid it, it is important to cover your head with a cap or similar and try to cool off whenever possible.
Heat stroke is caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures, or the practice of physical exercise during extreme external heat, where in both cases more heat is generated than the body is capable of eliminating.
Symptoms of sunstroke or heat stroke in the mountains
It is important to be attentive to any type of symptom that may lead to suspicion of sunstroke or heat stroke and to know how to act quickly. The most common symptoms are:
- Low blood pressure and/or dizziness
- Want to vomit
- Ringing in the ears
- Heavy breathing and/or chest pressure
What to do in case of sunstroke or heat stroke?
If we begin to feel any of the above symptoms, it is important that we take action immediately so that the body cools down again and thus avoid more serious injuries. The steps you must follow are the following.
- Put yourself in the shade, preferably in an airy place.
- drink cold water
- Free yourself from pieces of clothing and moisten yourself with cold water, allowing the body to evaporate it to lose heat.
- Call the emergency services and indicate the location through emergency signals such as Seeme from TwoNav.
*It is important to avoid hypothermia and use cold water, not ice.
How to avoid heat stroke in the mountains?
We can avoid incidents caused by the heat if we follow a series of tips during our trip to the mountains:
- Avoid going out in the hottest hours, either first thing in the morning, get up as early as you can, or late in the afternoon. From 37º physical activity should be reduced to a minimum, as well as on days where the humidity is very high.
- Bring enough water, keep in mind that with the heat the physical effort is greater and you can stay longer than expected.
- Drink water regularly to always stay hydrated, don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
- Take with you foods with contributions of mineral salts, they will help you not to become dehydrated.
- Cover your head from the sun with a cap, hat or similar
- Wear light-colored, breathable clothing that does not accumulate heat and helps expel moisture.
- Cool off whenever you can. On hot days, look for routes that pass by rivers or fountains to be able to do it regularly.
- Look for routes that pass through places where there is a majority of shade, such as forests, which allow you to avoid solar irradiation.
- Rest in places where there is shade and circulate the air to cool your body.
Plan before you go
Planning your route before leaving will help you prevent the unpleasant consequences of heat stroke. To do this, use route planning software such as Land, which allows you to analyze your entire itinerary section by section.
- Trace the route of your route, and analyze each section: Duration, unevenness… This will help you to know the most delicate points of the road, and at what point you are going to find them in order to calculate, for example, not to face the steepest unevenness in the hottest time.
- Create shorter alternative routes or shortcuts, so that in the event of the heat, you can reach your destination sooner. With the new system of desviations of Land it will be very easy for you.
- Mark Waypoints at points where you can cool off or rest in the shade.
- It uses OrthoPhoto maps to be able to have a real vision of the terrain and know if the route runs through the forest or is totally uncovered, in this case we should avoid it on the hottest days.
And always remember to be respectful of the environment, avoiding climate change and its consequences is in our hands.