4 things to know about practicing in the heat

Our region has seen record high temperatures this week. Many athletes have resumed practices for the season. What do you need to know to keep your athlete safe in the heat? Barry Gilmore, MD, medical director of Emergency Services at Le Bonheur, shares the following tips.

What to know…

1.) Heat stroke ranks third behind head and neck injuries and heart problems as a cause of death among U.S. high school athletes.

2.) Children (especially younger ones) are more susceptible to heat due to physiological factors, including:

  • Decreased ability to sweat
  • Require a greater core body temperature to initiate sweating
  • Slower to acclimatize to the increased temperature (It takes about four to seven sessions of one to four hours to get use to the higher temperatures.
  • Produce more heat for the same level of activity

3.) The five recognized heat-related illnesses include:

  • Heat edema, heat cramps, heat syncope (fainting), heat exhaustion and heat stroke
  • Heat stroke is the most serious – children are confused, stop sweating, body temperature increase, low blood pressure, high heart rate
  • Most children are mildly affected by heat – heat cramps or heat syncope (fainting)

4.) Parents and athletes should take the following precautions:

  • Watch the weather for heat warnings. The TSSAA policy for athletics is to suspend activities when the heat index reaches 105 or greater.
  • Encourage plenty of fluids. Remember that dehydration can “build up” over several days, making athletes more sensitive to the heat when exercising.

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