Keeping student athletes safe from heat illnesses

Local News

(WKBN) – We have seen starting this week high school football is back. Though football is considered a fall sport, practices and the start of the season are underway.

Lately, there have been hot and humid days across the valley.

This hot weather raises the risk for heat illness, but there is way it can be prevented.

A pediatrician with the Cleveland Clinic says there is a one simple thing you can do to make sure your athlete stays healthy.

“We do think that hydrating is one of the most important things that kids can do when they’re exercising in heat,” said Dr. Adam Keating. “And, in general, for athletes in high intensity exercise, we want them drinking before they are thirsty and hydrating before that, as well as regular cooling down and hydration afterwards.”

Athletes not only should be hydrating during high intensity exercise or games, but before and after.

Signs of dehydration include thirst, headache, dizziness and fatigue. When caught early, dehydration can be easily treated with fluids, but getting ahead of the heat is best.

Keating recommends taking frequent breaks, removing pads to cool down and drinking plenty of fluids

“The vast majority of the time, water is going to be adequate to hydrate the athletes but if you’re doing very vigorous activity for probably greater than an hour with high intensity, then a sports drink may help out to help replenish some of those electrolytes,” said Dr. Keating.

Heat illnesses can be as mild as a rash or cramps, but without cooling off or drinking water, more severe illnesses can happen.

This includes heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Some symptoms to look out for include dizziness, flushed skin, headaches and nausea. However, there are many more symptoms the Cleveland Clinic says to look out for when it comes to heat illnesses.

It is important for us to remind athletes it is ok to speak up if they aren’t feeling well.

If they are experiencing any signs of heat illness, they should tell their coach immediately.

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