“Summer is here, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a weekend warrior or a seasoned pro. When the thermometer starts creeping up to 90-degrees and above, you are putting yourself at risk for heat- related illnesses,” cautions Darrel Kauffman, MD, a recognized orthopedic surgeon with Samaritan Orthopedics in Lebanon.
An expert on helping patients stay active and healthy, Dr. Kauffman warns that physical injuries are all too common in the summertime, especially if you are out of shape and have been inactive during the winter months.
How can you avoid summertime injuries? Here are some of Dr. Kauffman’s tips:
- Fluid replenishment before, during and after your activity is essential. Always consume more water than you think you need, and don’t wait to drink until you are thirsty.
- When possible, don’t plan sporting events between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (the hottest times of the day), and wear light-colored, well-ventilated, loose-fitting clothing. Never underestimate the importance of shade: Before you go outdoors, do research to make sure shade is close. If not, bring your own umbrella or tarp to rest under.
- If your winter workouts consisted mainly of sprints to and from your couch, don’t plan on returning to your favorite sport in the same condition as last year. Too much activity too soon is dangerous. Instead, ease into your activity at a comfortable level and gradually increase the duration and intensity over a period of four to six weeks. Try starting with 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three days a week, eventually working up to 40 to 45 minutes four to five days a week. Starting slowly helps build endurance and allows your body to adjust to the new stresses put on it.
- With hard physical work, your body generates 15 to 20 times the amount of heat it normally produces. Not only should you be aware of the signals your body sends as it begins to heat up, you also need to act accordingly. Stop all activity and call a doctor if you develop a headache, lose coordination, feel dizzy, develop muscle cramps, stop sweating or begin to feel nauseous – all could be signs of heat-related illness. Know when to quit playing. Common sense goes a long way in preventing heat-related illness.
Dr. Kauffman specializes in general orthopedic surgery, with a special interest in sports medicine and trauma. He has been a team doctor for football and wrestling teams in Oregon and California. He graduated from Oregon State University and obtained his medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. After receiving his medical degree, he completed a five-year orthopedic surgery residency at the University of Southern California Medical Center.
Dr. Kauffman practiced orthopedic surgery for 17 years in San Jose, Calif., before returning to his native Oregon. He sees patients at the Samaritan Orthopedics at 100 Mullins Dr., Suite D-3, in Lebanon, and may be reached at 541-451-7540.