Rhonda Patt

Be aware of heat-related illnesses when temps rise

Rhonda Patt, MD

When the temperature rises outside, so does the risk of exhaustion, cramping, and heat stroke.
When the temperature rises outside, so does the risk of exhaustion, cramping, and heat stroke. Getty Images/Hemera

Q. Our son is in high school and has started preseason conditioning for football. I am concerned about the extremely hot days and the risk of dehydration or over-heating. Do you have any advice?

A. Physical activity is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle; however, as temperatures climb toward 100 degrees, the risk of heat-related illness increases. The three main forms of heat related illness are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Children, elderly, and people with underlying medical conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure or heart disease are at a greater risk of heat related injuries.

When temperatures are extreme, outdoor conditioning is safest in the early morning before temperatures begin to rise. It is important to increase fluid intake (especially water) and take frequent breaks to cool down indoors.

Parents, coaches and camp counselors should be aware of the early signs of over-heating and dehydration in order to prevent heat-related injuries. Some of these include headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, pallor, dizziness, and muscle cramps. If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to get them to a cool environment and encourage cold fluid intake.

Left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. If symptoms have not resolved after one hour, then seek medical treatment.

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