Yesterday, I experienced heat exhaustion for the first time and it was terrifying! I was pushing, trying to get through chores in the barn and I should have stopped and taken a break much sooner!

I had already taken the horses out at our new Hero Horse Therapeutic Riding Center and had swept and mopped our office and tack room and was on to cleaning stalls when I first started noticing symptoms. Keep in mind, I always sweat, so I wasn't too concerned. But then I started feeling groggy and like I couldn't put one foot in front of the other. That, coupled with labored breathing, muscle cramps, and profuse sweating had me taking a break. But apparently, I didn't stop long enough. As I tried to bring the horses in from their paddocks, I thought I was going to faint, right there in the pasture. Thank goodness we have good 'babies.' Fred walked slowly with me as we made our way back to the barn and pretty much kept me upright.

I have never felt anything like that before. Sure, I'm overweight and need to exercise, but I'm positive I was dehydrated as well from drinking too much coffee and not enough water. Couple that with a new prescription and my blood pressure medicine and it was bound to happen.

According to this video on heat exhaustion from WebMD, the signs of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, feeling weak or confused, cold, clammy skin, dizziness, nausea, headache, and a fast, weak heartbeat. I exhibited almost all of those symptoms. In fact, when I looked at my Fitbit data for yesterday, I can see how high my heart rate went.

Bristol's Fitbit
Bristol's Fitbit

I can promise you, I never went to go through this again. Thank goodness Kendall showed up to help. There is no way I would have been able to bring the horses in by myself, finish filling water buckets or throwing hay. I had to sit in my truck reclined, with the air on for almost an hour before I felt safe to drive. And that was after drinking water and cooling myself down with a water hose. Even after driving home with a friend on the phone with me to make sure I stayed alert, I experienced muscle cramps well into the night.

So, if you're working outside, take lots of breaks, drink water before, during and after your activity and listen to your body!

They say it's going to be a record-breaking summer for heat here in Louisiana. Please, take care of yourself!



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