Surviving The Hot Weather

Continued from Part 1 Surviving The Hot Weather

Heat illness is the third most common cause of death in athletes behind cardiac and head injuries, but is distinguished from these other causes because it is entirely preventable. Proper awareness, prevention, and treatment will hopefully decrease the approximately 400 deaths per year in the United States.

Heat illness is caused when the body’s heat regulation system fails and is unable to maintain a safe body temperature.

Cooling off by sweating is the most important method the body uses to spread out heat during exercise. Factors that can lead to heat illness include increased heat and humidity, improper clothing, poor conditioning, obesity, poor hydration, and certain medical conditions such as sickle cell trait. Some drugs and medications can also predispose an individual to heat illness, including amphetamines, anti-depressants, alcohol, diuretics, and thyroid medications.

Safety Tips

Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or rescheduled strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, senior and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.

Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.

Prevention

It is extremely important that athletes acclimatize to hot weather by gradually increasing their work-out times and intensity over a period of at least one to two weeks. Awareness of the heat index and modification or avoidance of physical activity in extremely hot conditions should be considered. However, it must be emphasized that heat illness can occur even in less than extreme heat.

Remember … “hydrate, hydrate and hydrate again!

Anyone who is out for an extended period of time needs to be concerned. It’s the time to pay attention. Dehydration can come quickly and before you realize it.

Coaches, parents and players must not underestimate the seriousness of heat illnesses. These illnesses can happen suddenly with little warning and can have severe consequences. Through gradual acclimation to warm weather, proper hydration and continually educating ourselves on heat illnesses, we can help young athletes play safe in the heat.

The CDC has some great Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness in the extreme heat.

And once again, Don’t Forget To Wear Sunscreen!