Heat Related Illness
As we approach the dog days of summer remember that heat related injuries can seriously affect performance and in certain situations become life threatening. The body’s inability to dissipate heat becomes more prevalent in hot and humid conditions.
INJURY TPYES and TREATMENT
- Heat Cramps
- Usually the first warning sign and are characterized by involuntary muscle spasm, thirst, dehydration and fatigue.
- The athlete should be removed from activity with light stretching to the affected muscles and proper rehydration strategies.
- Heat Exhaustion
- The second stage of heat related illness and present with profuse sweating, lightheadedness or headache, cool clammy skin, dizziness and possible nausea.
- Treatment should be to remove the athlete from sports and get into a cool shaded area, remove excess equipment and clothes, cool with ice, fans and cold towels, slowly rehydrate and should be cleared by a physician prior to return to play.
- Heat Stroke
- A medical emergency as the body is no longer able to cool itself and the internal organs can fail if the core temperature becomes too high.
- Usually presents with hot red dry skin, disorientation, change in mental status, and possible loss of consciousness, seizures or vomiting.
- The best treatment is to get the athlete as quickly as possible to a hospital. Cool with ice bags to the arm pit and groin region while transporting to the hospital.
All heat related injuries are preventable if you follow a gradual conditioning program that allows your body to acclimate to the heat and humidity over a course of 7-10 days and eat a well-balanced diet along with proper hydration before, during and after activity.