HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES ARE ALL PREVENTABLE
HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES ARE ALL PREVENTABLEtitle
There are several ways to prevent heat illness from occurring in sports:
- The athlete should arrive to practices, games, and in-between exercise sessions well-hydrated to reduce the risk of dehydration
- Water should be freely accessible and water breaks should be given in the shade if available at least every 15-20 minutes and should be long enough to allow athletes to ingest adequate volumes of fluid. Unnecessary equipment should be removed during breaks.
- Intensity and duration of exercise should be gradually increased over a period of 7-14 days to give athletes time to build fitness levels and become accustomed to practicing in the heat.
- Protective equipment should be introduced in phases.
Additional Prevention Measures
- Encourage hydration status record-keeping. An athlete should drink approximately 16 oz of fluid for each kilogram of fluid lost (1 kg = 2.2 lbs).
- Eat a well-balanced diet which aids in replacing lost electrolytes and avoid drinks containing stimulants such as ephedrine or high doses of caffeine.
- Alter practice plans in extreme environmental conditions. Coaches should be aware of both the temperature and humidity. The greater the humidity, the more difficult it is for the body to cool itself. Athletes with heat illness risk factors should be closely supervised during strenuous activities in hot or humid climates.