Summer – Time for Heat Exhaustion?

River and pine trees

Every winter I cover things like what to wear on the water, cotton kills, and hypothermia.  But now with summer here we can forget all of that – but what DO we need to know about?

With the summer heat creeping up on us, we need to start thinking about heat exhaustion and sun stroke.  Wearing waders, long sleeve shirts, caps, buffs, and the like, getting over-heated can catch us off guard.  We recently had an incident to prove this fact.  The day starts out cool but the temperatures slowly creep up.  Fishing outside and away from

the crowds we tend to do a lot more walking. Heat exhaustion can happen fast and be a scary thing when you’re out in the middle of a river.

Wearing those wicky type shirts is still ok and they do make them to keep you cool.  Bring plenty of water on your trip and carry it with you while you are out on the water. I freeze a bottle of water the night before a trip and it slowly melts throughout the day, giving me cool water to drink on the river. Bring extra bottles of water in a cooler on your trip to have after the day is done – stay HYDRATED!! You should drink water before you start the trip, during the trip and after the trip.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of walking. Possible heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:

  • Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure upon standing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If you think you’re experiencing heat exhaustion:

  • Ask a buddy for help and to stay with you
  • Stop all activity and rest
  • Move to a cooler place
  • Drink cool water or sports drinks
  • Remove your waders and use the cool river to get your temperature down.

Be careful out there!


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