As riders we face many dangers on the road. Luckily, there are also many preventative measures we can take against them. In the summer when temperatures soar, it’s easy to become dehydrated without realizing it. Learn how to recognize overheating danger signs to stay safe while riding.
Everyone is affected by warm weather differently. However, heatstroke (or sunstroke) typically has three general stages:
Stage 1: Heat cramps include muscle spasms and stiffness in the abdomen, arms and calves.
Stage 2: Heat exhaustion includes dizziness, headaches, cramps, cool and clammy skin, blurred vision, dilated pupils, rapid breathing, vomiting and loss of consciousness.
Stage 3: Heatstroke (sunstroke) includes convulsions, hot skin with a lack of sweating, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, a weak and rapid pulse and even death.
If you experience any of these heat emergency symptoms while riding, STOP, rehydrate and seek medical care if necessary. To beat the heat this summer: drink plenty of fluids, wear ventilated gear and loose clothing, avoid high-sugar and alcoholic drinks (which can also cause dehydration) and avoid sunburns. Preparing ahead of time will pay off big when it comes to riding in the heat.
At Hupy and Abraham, we always encourage you to have fun and ride safe. Help us spread the safety message by ordering your free WATCH FOR MOTORCYCLES sticker here.
Road Guardians additional notes: The importance of electrolyte replacement should not be underestimated. When you sweat, you lose sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Replacing those electrolytes by drinking water with electrolytes in it or taking replacement electrolytes is as important as the water itself. When you drink only water, you further dilute your system so while water replacement is vitally important, so are your electrolytes. Consider stopping more frequently to hydrate and cool down. How do you know when you need to replace electrolytes? You should assume that is necessary on hot days. Replace every time you drink water. If you end up in crisis (heart racing, dizzy, exhausted, red flushed skin); Get out of the sun and off of your bike immediately, remove excess clothing, pour water over your skin and even on your head. Drink fluids and replace electrolytes. I always carry electrolyte tablets with me on my bike. Take two packages if you have signs of dehydration. Be sure you are not alone. Call for help of you do not feel better in 10 minutes. Looking for electrolytes? You can find them at www.RGcompound.com or ask at a pharmacy or bicycle shop. Happy and safe riding! Get more information from OSHA here.
Vicki Sanfelipo, RN/EMT – Director of Accident Scene Management/Road Guardians