Keeping Cool in the Heat2011-May-21
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SATURDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- As summer approaches and
temperatures rise, so does the risk of heat-related illnesses,
"We are not invincible when it comes to exercise in the heat,"
said Brendon McDermott, an athletic trainer with the University of
Tennessee at Chattanooga and member of the Korey Stringer Institute
(KSI) Medical and Science Advisory Board, in a news release from
the National Athletic Trainers Association. "In extreme cases, if
medical care is not provided in a timely manner, long-term damage
and sometimes death can occur."
Among the most common heat-related illnesses:
- Exertional heat stroke, a serious and potentially fatal
illness that can occur when core body temperature tops 104-105F.
Symptoms include seizures and confusion, nausea, vomiting, headache
and dizziness. Get immediate medical attention if heat stroke is
- Heat exhaustion, which is less serious than heat stroke but
still something to take seriously. This results from the loss of
fluid or sodium. Symptoms include loss of coordination, dizziness
or fainting, headache, nausea and persistent muscle cramps. A
person with heat exhaustion should be quickly moved to a cool,
shady place. They should also rest with their feet elevated and
drink plenty of water.
- Heat cramps, characterized by intense pain and persistent
muscle contractions that continue during and after exercise. Heat
cramps are treated by drinking water, resting, stretching and
eating foods high in sodium.
To prevent and treat these illnesses before they become serious
or fatal, KSI and the National Athletic Trainers' Association
recommends that people who are going to exert themselves in the
- Allow time for heat acclimatization. Increases in the
duration or intensity of physical activity should be gradual. This
process can take up to 14 days to complete.
- Take breaks. Be sure to include adequate rest between
- Hydrate. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks before,
during and after outdoor activities. Urine that is darker in color
is a key warning sign of dehydration.
- Time it right. Whenever possible, exercise during the early
morning or late evening when the temperatures are cooler.
- Know when to quit. Fever or other pre-existing illnesses can
make a person more susceptible to heat related conditions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers
tips for preventing heat-related illnesses.
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The information in this article, including reference materials, are provided to you solely for educational or research purposes. Information in reference materials, are not and should not be considered professional health care advice upon which you should rely. Health care information changes rapidly and consequently, information in this article may be out of date. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.