Printer Friendly

Heat illness: staying cool on the inside. (Side Lines).

Competitive athletics at any level requires dedication and hard work in all types of environmental conditions. When the temperature rises on the court or on the field, the athlete's core body temperature can easily do the same. There are some simple steps to keep an athlete cool and prevent serious problems, perhaps even death, due to heat illness.

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.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Scholastic, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Ryan, Michael D.
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2002
Words:537
Previous Article:The BC's of great man-to-man defense. (Basketball).
Next Article:A knight in purgatory. (Here Below).
Topics:


Related Articles
Hyperthermia: a hot weather hazard for older people.
Cooling inside the parison shrinks cycles, expands output.
NEW CAMT COURSE II: BASIC REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE.
HEAT WAVE WE'LL SIZZLE TILL WEEKEND, METEOROLOGISTS PREDICT.
HEAT HAZARDS HERE'S HOW TO PLAY IT COOL WHEN TEMPERATURES RISE.
ICY RECEPTION FOR AREA HEAT RESIDENTS TRY TO CHILL OUT.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters