Silent killers: heat stroke & dehydration

Planning a great trip hiking in Nepal or the Namibian desert? Running a marathon with friends in Kenya or Jordan? Participating in hikes, treks, and runs are great ways to experience the world. However, considering how you will take care of yourself while you do so can be a matter of life and death.

Mark and Ellen Newman experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when they learned that their son had been hospitalised after collapsing on an organised hike during his gap year abroad. Ariel Newman was participating in a hike in Israel when he suffered a heat stroke from which he would never recovered. Ariel died on September 10, 2014.

Sadly, Ariel is not alone. Alex Francis died of heat stroke on his gap year while participating in a half marathon in Sierra Leone in 2005. Maya Schulder on a gap year hike also died of dehydration – again in Israel – in 2016.

Heat stroke, exertional heat illness (EHI), and dehydration are often ignored and silent killers as young people feel they are fit and able to take on any challenge. Arriving in new environments, at different altitudes, and with different weather conditions can be dangerous if you don’t take time to acclimate, hydrate, pay attention to your clothing, sleep and other key factors. If you trek, or run at home you might feel that you should be able to continue doing so elsewhere forgetting that your body will respond differently to different heat and weather conditions. Heat related illness and death can strike suddenly and without warning. Information and preparation are a must!

In hopes helping other young people hike safely, Ariel’s parents have created a great website which details quickly and easy how avoid heat stroke. Click here to see the full site. Or, read the recommendations below clicking on any number to read more.

Remember! You are responsible for your own safety and security. Do not exert yourself further if you aren't feeling well or feel unsafe. Speak up if you are struggling as you might not be the only one in danger and giving voice to your concerns could save lives!

Ariel’s parents have also created a full guideline for tour organisers and those leading hikes and treks. This can be found here.

#heatstroke #gapyear #dehydration #illness #health #weatherhazard

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