Heat illness: staying cool on the inside. (Side Lines).
Acclimation and hydration stand out as the two primary prevention methods for decreasing the risk of heat illness. Acclimation is the process of the body adjusting to heat and humidity when exercising in hot environments. Heat acclimation can take up to 14 days for some athletes. The first 2 to 5 days, such as at the beginning of 2-a-day football practices, is a critical period when the body is most susceptible to heat illness. Proper hydration during this time is vital. After athletes are acclimated they sweat more and need more fluids to stay hydrated. Whether acclimated or not, athletes who do not adhere to proper hydration principals can become dehydrated and put themselves at risk for developing heat illness.
Other factors affecting heat illness include body size, fitness level, environmental temperature and humidity, uniform and gear. Many of these risk factors for heat illness can be controlled.
Treating Heat Illness
* Heat illness has three separate degrees of severity: dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but does not necessarily occur in this progression. It is possible to have heat stroke without ever experiencing heat exhaustion.
* Dehydration. Some symptoms include muscle cramps, thirst, loss of energy, diminished performance and headache. Stretching can help relieve muscle cramps. To correct dehydration, drink sports drinks that contain sodium and electrolytes while resting in a shady area.
* Heat exhaustion. Some symptoms include headache, nausea, feeling faint or dizzy, cramping, chills, and clammy skin. To treat, rest in a cool area, drink sports drinks and loosen or remove excessive clothing and equipment.
* Heat stroke. Characterized by high body temperature, confusion or unconsciousness. Seek emergency medical assistance first and then immediately ice down the body.
RELATED ARTICLE: Preventing Heat Illness
1. Allow enough time for acclimation. Slowly increase practice intensity and duration over the first two weeks of training.
2. Gradually build up to full uniform. Start players practicing in shorts and t-shirts then slowly increase clothing and equipment wom over the first few days of practice.
3. Recognize and respond to early warning signs of dehydration.
4. Schedule practice in the morning and evening when the weather is coolest.
5. Do not let athletes rely on thirst. Schedule frequent fluid breaks for rehydrating.
6. Favor sports drinks over water. Research demonstrates that sodium encourages voluntary drinking and promotes hydration, and the carbohydrate in sports drinks fuels muscle.
7. Encourage drinking fluids, not pouring them. Dumping fluid over the head won't help restore body fluids or lower body temperature.
8. Provide easily accessible fluids. Keep athletes to these guidelines.
Before: Drink 17-20 oz of fluid 2-3 hours before and another 7-10 oz of fluid 10-20 minutes before practices or games.
During: Drink 28-40 oz of fluid per hour of play (at least 7-10 oz every 10-20 minutes).
After: Drink at least 20 oz per pound of weight loss within 2 hours of finishing training or competition.
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|Author:||Ryan, Michael D.|
|Publication:||Coach and Athletic Director|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||May 1, 2002|
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