Heat & Substance
Preventing heatstroke, medical marijuana and beer benefits
Louisiana summers are long and brutal. Temperatures soar into the 90s and the suffocating humidity can push the heat index over 110 degrees. For those who enjoy outdoor exercising, it can be a dangerous time.
Heat stroke can be fatal. If you feel weakness, lightheadedness, dizziness, headache, muscle cramps, nausea/vomiting, or a rapid heartbeat, seek air-conditioned shelter and medical aid immediately. In severe cases, a person may be confused and delirious or suffer from seizures. Heat stroke often causes hot, flushed dry skin (the less deadly, but still serious heat exhaustion causes heavy sweating accompanied by clammy skin).
Aside from the common tips like drinking water before you feel thirsty and exercising in the early morning or late evening hours (and on shady park trails if possible), there are other factors to consider. For people new to the state from cooler climes, acclimation is necessary. The Korey Stringer Institute (named after the Minnesota Vikings player who died of heat stroke during training camp) advises people to acclimate themselves to working out in hot conditions gradually over 10-14 days. Start at 15 minutes a day for a few days, then increase to 30, and so on.
An important consideration in sweaty workouts are electrolytes. They regulate fluid balance in the body, and they’re lost via sweat. Sodium and potassium are the primary components in electrolytes. Post-workout, they can easily be replaced with a banana (422 milligrams of potassium) or a handful of salted nuts (87 milligrams of sodium per ounce). Sports drinks often replace electrolytes, but can come at a higher caloric cost.
Athletes will be delighted to know that the University of Granada in Spain released a study indicating that a post-workout beer might provide more hydration than water. This is because the carbonation in beer quenches thirst faster and the carbohydrates replace lost calories from exercising. However, study subjects only drank 16 ounces of beer. So, the positive effects of the workout will be lost if you exceed that amount.
Medical Marijuana in Louisiana? Senate Bill 143 by state Sen. Fred Mills (R-New Iberia) could pave the way for medical marijuana use in Louisiana. The bill passed the Louisiana Senate on May 4 in a 22-13 vote. On June 4, it passed the Louisiana House of Representatives by a 70-29 vote. At press time, the hurdles it has left to clear are Senate approval of amendements the House tacked onto the bill and Gov. Jindal’s signature. Jindal told reporters in May that he would sign the bill. Medical marijuana usage has been legalized in Louisiana since 1991. The new legislation will lay out a set of rules to allow for its use and dispensation. Under SB 143, only 10 pharmacies in Louisiana would be allowed to dispense it and only one location would be allowed to cultivate it. The bill would allow marijuana to be used for treatment of glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia, and for those undergoing the rigors of chemotherapy. It would not allow for recreational marijuana usage, like measures in Colorado; Washington State; Washington, D.C; Oregon; and Alaska have.