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Riding in the summer- I feel like crap!

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  • Riding in the summer- I feel like crap!

    Hey everyone, I ride on a team for my college and we just started lessons this week. Every summer I have issues with headaches, sinuses, blurry vision, and ear problems. I'm not sure if this is allergy or humidity/pressure related but it STINKS. I can't even be outside without being extremely dizzy and having a pounding headache. The other day I had my lesson from 3-4 and it was quite hot (about 95) We went very easy and usually I'm fine, but I wasn't this time. My head was throbbing and everything was spinning and I had to get off and sit on the ground for a while as I was about to pass out. I was chugging lots of water and gatorade before and during my lesson so I don't think it was dehydration, but none of the headache meds I am taking seem to help. I live in the south and we still have another few weeks before it begins to cool off and I don't want to have to put my riding on hold until then, any tips and advice are greatly appreciated!!!

  • #2
    Have you tried nasal sprays for decongestion? -- if the headaches are sinus related...


    • #3
      I used to have a lot of trouble with allergies and sinus problems. My doctor told me to start using sinus wash (this stuff: and flonase (available over the counter, the generic is cheaper and works fine for me). I use the sinus wash every time I come home from the barn, after working in the yard, and in the evening when I shower. I really think it helps.

      I also lived in Florida for a long time. I got so that I just couldn't take the heat anymore. I bought a cooling vest and cooling neck wraps. It needs to be the kind with actual ice packs in them. The ones that work via evaporative cooling (you just wet them to activate) do NOT work in the high humidity of the south.

      One of these: lasted me through a 30 minute private lesson if I kept it on ice and didn't put it on until I got ready to get on the horse.
      "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
      that's even remotely true."

      Homer Simpson


      • #4
        So I wrote a long reply complete with links and my post was unapproved.

        In short:

        1. Sinus wash, NeilMed brand with the squeeze bottle. They sell it in most drug stores. Use it faithfully, more than once/day if your allergies are really bad.

        2. Buy a cooling vest or bandana. The kind that have real ice packs in them. I used Icy Cools Ice Bandanas from Amazon. One would last through a 30 minute private lesson if I kept it on ice and didn't put it on until I was ready to ride. It works better if you dampen the terry cloth side that's against your skin.
        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
        that's even remotely true."

        Homer Simpson


        • #5
          What weather do you go home to in the summer? I would bet you are having issues with heat tolerance and dehydration. I played college tennis, but when I went home to Florida in the summer I struggled with similar symptoms because I just was no longer used to the exertion in those conditions. I also had similar issues with sun headaches and dehydration when I rode at a barn with no covered or indoor and we had no choice but to ride in the heat and humidity all summer. The only things I found that helped to minimize the symptoms were (1) to start hydrating with Gatorade a lot sooner than I thought I needed to - day of is too late for me, I have to start the day before, and would drink another 20oz on my way to the barn for my lesson even, and (2) getting out and exercising in the heat in addition to my riding to build the tolerance back up. If you could start building the heat tolerance back up before lessons start next year, it would probably help you, but that may not be an option. You have my sympathy, it is miserable!

          Frog Toggs cooling towels are something that might help you, you can even use them while you ride if you get the small ones and tuck it inside your collar of your sun shirt or something like that.


          • #6
            Are you sweating a lot? I know I do and really had to start drinking more electrolyte type drinks. While water sounds like the right choice, water and electrolytes are better. By chugging a lot of water, you can drop your sodium and potassium to dangerously low levels. I make my own solution with 1 teaspoon of Morton light salt (half sodium, half potassium) and 1/2 teaspoon of No Salt (all potassium) in 64 oz of water with crystal light. So much cheaper than gatoraide . Generally 1 of these will do it and you can chase this with more water. If you don't like the taste, add more crystal light and or sweetener.

            As a side note, the young football player that died this summer in Arkansas was working outside, sweating and drinking only water, dropped his sodium to deadly levels and died. Remember the water drinking contests that don't happen anymore because people died doing it? Make sure you are getting electrolytes too.
            "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope


            • #7
              Google oral rehydration solution and make some. Gatorade is all sugar and very little electrolytes. Drinking Gatorade will not help if you don't add salt.

              You can either sprinkle salt in orange juice or add it directly to the Gatorade.

              Summer in Florida is brutal. You should consider dunking your head, or hosing your shirt. I often go in the bathroom, take off my shirt, soak it in the sink, and put it back on. I carry 1/2 to 3/4th a gallon of water on my horse in saddle bags for a 1 to 2.5 hour ride starting at 8:30am. Some days I drink that entire amount. If I don't drink it, I dump it on me or my horse.

              Are you going to UF?


              • #8
                I cannot withstand the heat and humidity and especially the bright sun when I ride anymore. Not sure i it's age or burn-out - Sometimes at shows I remove my jacket and dump water on my shirt, then replace my jacket before I go in the show ring. Helps a lot. Otherwise I see stars and forget the course and slide off when I exit the ring and sit on the ground and wait for the spinning to stop. Gatorade helps a little. And a cold bucket of water with ice in it to stick my hands in to get my temp down,


                • #9
                  95 with the sun beating down is hard on everyone, including the horses. It sounds like you are getting overheated; I have the same issue when it’s hot.
                  Can you move your lesson time? Riding in the morning or after 4-5 can really, really make a difference.


                  • #10
                    I use an ice vest as well as the technical fabric summer shirts and silicon full seat technical fabric riding tights.

                    Even with the ice vest I was sweating on my face while riding this morning, but it helps keep my core cool. When I take my ice vest off the skin under it is COOL even though the rest of me is hot.

                    I have MS, the heat cripples me. I ride pretty early in the morning (anywhere from 7:45 AM to 8:30 AM at the start of my ride) which helps somewhat. It tends to be more humid at that time of day which makes the heat worse, but it is worth it not to have the sun beating down on me.

                    In the heat I mostly walk because anything more vigorous gets me hotter. My body does not work as well in the heat, but I manage to keep on riding through the summer heat.


                    • #11
                      for me summer headaches are often worsened by the ice-cold AC to sweltering heat/crushing humidity. It does help me to suffer a bit at night and keep my room a bit hotter (like low 80s/high 70s).
                      I have had some luck with Magnesium oxide for headaches brought on by rapid temp changes (helps blood vessels dilate and constrict without spasming, and in my experience, if a headache isn't touched by painkillers, it's a sinus headache (which also fits as this is the time of year my allergies start to ramp up).

                      I also like the cooling cloths around my neck, and it really does help to hose off my head when I've overdone it in the heat.

                      I've had good luck with icing just my pulse point areas as well: wrists, ankles, neck. Especially after I've already overdone it and need to cool down quickly
                      That made me curious about how menthol sprays might work, and I found the following:
                      That article also mentions drinking icy slurries before exercising to lower core temp. Are you drinking really cold liquids? that will help you stay cooler than just hydrating with coolish beverages.


                      • #12
                        lots of good suggestions but also have your ears checked for excess wax build up. It will throw off your balance like crazy. You can check yourself by getting a baby aspirator and using warm water to flush your ears out.


                        • #13
                          I would have bloodwork done.

                          The last time I was getting dizzy and short of breath from riding, it turned out my hemoglobin was at 5.4 and I needed to emergency blood transfusions.

                          ER docs were pretty impressed that I was still conscious.
                          The Noodle
                          Boy Wonder
                          The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!


                          • #14
                            All of the above suggestions about the care & feeding of your sinuses, plus Noom tabs for your water.


                            • #15
                              Might need to get checked out. Long story short, i thought i was a delicate flower and actually had an autoimmune thing. It's not better, but knowing there was a reason i couldn't tolerate direct sunlight and had to eat electrolyte tabs like candy made me feel better.


                              • #16
                                My mom has an autoimmune disorder and this type of heat intolerance is a common symptom among many different autoimmune issues. I would definitely get this checked out. In the meantime, can you change your lesson time? I also second the suggestion of hydrating with something other than gatorade. Nuun tablets are great. You might also try salt tablets if you are really struggling. Many distance runners who struggle with heat exhaustion during races find salt tabs to work wonders.

                                And do whatever you can to keep cool -- stay in the AC as long as you can before your lesson, use an ice vest, and see if someone else can get the tack off your horse while you go sit in the AC for a few after your lesson. I knew a guy who had MS and had a very hard time in the heat. He lessoned at a neighbors ring so he'd hack the horse over, have his lesson, and then a friend would meet him ringside with his car with the AC on full blast, ice water, and towels. The friend would ride the horse back to the barn and the guy had some time to cool off and recuperate from the heat.


                                • #17
                                  How much time do you spend outside working as hard as you do in lessons or at all? I have had the same symptoms as you and for me it’s a hydration issue along with allergies if I am not used to the area.

                                  It could be something as as simple as not being acclimated to exercising in the heat or acclimated to that type of heat at all.

                                  Bananas, a Gatorade, and lots of water help me. The more you do in any kind of weather the more your body will adjust. If you are only outside exercising in the heat and humidity during your lessons it will be difficult.

                                  Another tip, get a camel back and some Mio for your lessons. Sip during walk breaks, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If your thirsty it’s too late.


                                  • #18
                                    Mmmmm - go get yourself checked out!? That's not really normal, and even if it is just a combination of allergies, headaches and heat exhaustion, those are things that should be addressed by a medical professional, not the internet!

                                    You do need to make sure you're acclimated to the heat and humidity combination if you haven't lived in an area with that before. So make sure you're doing something else active outside, beginning with a low-strenuous activity like a walk and increase from there.

                                    But honestly, that sounds like a relatively severe intolerance from someone quite young. I'd get some professional advice.
                                    Jennifer Baas
                                    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)