With the dawning heat of summer on the way it’s important our kids and all of us are properly hydrated to prevent heat illness. “Heat illness is the most preventable cause of sudden death in athletes” according to Douglas Casa, PhD, ATC, of the Kory Stringer Institute which does extensive research on heat and hydration in athletes at all levels of participation.
Children are more at risk as their thermo-regulatory systems are still developing. Often time kids and adults spend too much time sedentary or indoors that it takes them longer to acclimate to the heat. We recommend spending time outdoors daily involved in exercise, play, yard work, etc. to help one adjust to the heat.
Hydration affects our performance so we need be aware of the following signs & symptoms of heat illness: thirst, early fatigue, feeling hot, slower, difficulty with concentration, dizziness, cramping or muscle spasms may occur. The skin becomes red or flushed, clammy or hot or even dry which is a medical emergency. If you’re thirsty or exhibiting some of these symptoms you’ll need to catch up as you are already compromised. Cool fluids are recommended and do not cause cramping. Early treatment is cooling, best with immersion in a cool tub, ice towels, ice bags in a cool shaded area with removal of outer clothing and equipment.
Check your urine color, light is good, dark like tea is not
Drink frequently before, during and after exercise. One gulp equals about an ounce of fluid.
20 oz. an hour before and after activity and about 6 -8 oz. every 15-20 minutes. 16-24 oz. of fluid for every pound you lose in sweat.
Total consumption should be about 50% water and 50% sports electrolyte drink if exercising for an hour or longer
Avoid excessive caffeine and soft drinks as they can accelerate dehydration. Avoid energy drinks too as they may dangerously elevate the heart rate.
The Florida High School Athletic Association has policies and procedure in place regarding heat & hydrations at www.fhsaa.org and the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program www.jsmp.us also has information on their web site that you will find helpful.
Jim Mackie, MEd, ATC, LAT is a Certified Athletic Trainer; 904-477-9291 email@example.com