By: Dr. Mark Hsu, DC

What is a heat stroke? 

Well…it is when the body can no longer monitor its temperature:

  1. Body’s temperature rises rapidly 
  2. Your sweat pores don’t know what to 
  3. Unable to cool down

Sometimes you will feel the chills or a wave of coldness even though it is blazing hot during your run! 

When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes and that is typical for someone just hanging out or walking in the sun under bad weather conditions. 

You can imagine how your temperature can increase exponentially while your feet are hitting the scorching hot pavement that is melting off your shoes. Moreover, the heat index is well into the triple digits! The “feels like…” effect and not the actual temperature (i.e. it’s 95 but feels like 105 degrees). 

Knowing the signs that are suffering from heat stroke is crucial and you need to begin finding ways to cool down. 

Here are some symptoms you might be feeling but please note that each athlete reacts differently:

  • General body reactions: increased body temperature, fast heart rate, dehydration, tiredness and fatigue, flushing of the face, excessive thirst, profuse sweating, dry skin, and the inability to sweat normally
  • Muscular: cramping of legs, stiff muscles/heaviness, or muscle spasms and abnormal twitching
  • Stomach: feelings of nausea or vomiting
  • Respiratory: fast or shallow breathing that mimics hyperventilation 
  • In the head: feeling faint, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, delirium, headache, or confusion (i.e. not knowing what date it is or what city you are in) 

In emergency cases when YOU feel like the symptoms are moderate to severe, please attempt to notify a race staff member, water station helper, police officer, spectators, and/or nearby racers that you need medical attention. Maybe at this point, just anyone will do!

If YOU see someone presenting heatstroke symptoms, please call for medical attention and begin these steps to help the runner:

  1. Get to someplace cool or A/C
  2. Mist / sprinkle cool water and fan those areas
  3. Use ice and/or cooling towels. 
    • Apply to the groin, neck, back, and armpits
  4. Offer cool fluids or sports drinks, small sips
  5. Loosen any tight clothing
  6. Keep them conscious
  7. Elevate legs
  8. Turn head to the side in case they vomit

Running as Pooky the Panda does not come without consequences if I don’t heed my body’s warnings of heat stroke. 

I started running the panda head in 2017 and have done countless races throughout the summertime. Mainly to keep up with my goal of 1-4 events on the weekend for every weekend of the year. However, I knew when to stop, lift my mask up, or pull off to the side and double-check my temperature as well as my mental state. 

Sticking to a running schedule is important but it’s not worth the scare that you might not wake up from passing out from a heat stroke! Know when to take a DNF (Did Not Finish) and attempt it another time.

I haven’t left a race site without being asked “But isn’t it hot in there?!” And indeed it is but I know when to rest and lift up the mask to catch a breather. I don’t like the race photos but hey better to be safe than sorry! I don’t reveal my face because like I said previously I hold a lot of other titles and not just Pooky the Panda. 

An excellent race director knows to provide plenty of support to make sure heat stroke incidents are minimized. You will find all the precautionary measures are taken at Run Project races. Mother Nature governs how the race will conclude. Warnings will be declared and if you signed the waiver, hopefully, this blog enlightened your thoughts about starting and finishing with safety in mind. 

Model Wellness also offers customized and standard intravenous (IV) therapy drips that allow you to stay hydrated… Don’t hesitate to reach out for more tips and information on how the services at Model Wellness can help you fight off heatstroke! 

Model Wellness

14350 Proton Rd. Farmers Branch 75244