Heat and humidity increase risk for heat-related illness, especially on athletic surfaces


MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – Gyms have opened back up but many people still don’t feel 100 percent comfortable working out indoors, leaving many to exercise in this heat.

“We are running a lot of heat emergencies right now,” said Captain Robert Daus, Maryland Heights Fire Protection District.

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body cannot cool itself properly. Heat stroke takes it to the next level, being the most severe heat illness. This is when the body’s heat regulating system shuts down.

Symptoms can come quick.

“Dizziness, profuse sweating; you might even have some nausea, vomiting, headache,” Daus said. “The big thing is you can start to have muscle cramps.”

As it progresses further, eventually becoming heat stroke.

“Then tour skin is going to become hot, dry, headache is going to be worse, you could become extremely disoriented,” Daus said.

When active, it’s important to consider not only the air temperature but ground temperature too.

As the ground absorbs heat all day, temperatures can be 40 to 60 degrees warmer than the air. It’s important to remember this for the kids and pets.

We decided to test the temperature of four different surfaces this afternoon. Our readings showed:

  • Black asphalt near 140 degrees
  • Concrete at 119 degrees
  • Grass near 100 degrees
  • Astroturf at a whopping 150 degrees

With temps hottest on sporting surfaces, athletes who exert themselves are even more susceptible.

“Water is the best and pacing yourself through the day,” Daus said. “If you have something to do outside do it in the morning or later in the evening. Take frequent breaks. Stay in the shade. And the big thing here right now is the masks. Everyone is wearing masks.”

Wearing masks outside can increase the risk of overheating. Make sure to take breaks from your mask outside.

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