Heat Related Illness – Prevention Tips

With temperatures reaching the upper 90’s and even breaking 100 degrees, it’s important to be aware of heat related illness. Heat related illness prevention is especially important to athletes playing outdoors, children and adults playing recreational games, and also outdoor based workers and the elderly.

Hydration is Key

Hydration is the ultimate method to preventing heat illness. For athletes this means:

  1. Drink 20 oz of liquid (water, gatorade) 2-3 hours BEFORE practice/games
  2. Drink 6-12 oz of liquid every 15-20 minutes DURING practice/games
  3. Drink 24 oz of liquid for every pound lost as result of perspiration AFTER practice/games
    *This means athletes should be weighed before and after practice/games

Red Flags to Look For

Dehydration Symptoms
*Noticeable Thirst
*Weakness/Fatigue
*Headache
*Irritability
*Nausea
*Muscle Cramping
*Difficulty Paying Attention
*Lightheaded or Dizziness
*Dark Yellow Urine

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
*Weakness
*Heavy Sweating
*Cool, Moist, Pale, Ashen or Flushed Skin
*Headache, Nausea, Dizziness

Heat Stroke Symptoms
*Red, Hot Skin
*Vomiting
*Changes in level of Consciousness

What to Do if Heat Illness Develops

  1. Move athlete/person to a cool place
  2. Loosen tight clothing and remove perspiration soaked clothing
  3. Apply cool, wet cloths to skin
  4. If the athlete/person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water
  5. If the athlete/person refuses water, vomits, or starts to lose consciousness, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY

Do’s and Don’t’s

DO: Schedule practice/outdoor activities during cooler times of the day (ie. early morning or evening)
DO: Wear proper equipment and adjust accordingly (instead of practicing full gear, try less and adjust activities accordingly)
DO: Make sure athletes are properly hydrated before, during and after practice/games
DO: Reduce or reschedule practice if it is excessively hot or humid
DON’T: Do not use salt tablets
DON’T: Punish athletes by withholding water breaks – EVER!

 

Download and share our PDF on Heat Related Illness / Musculoskeletal Injuries