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Sierra Soleimani
June 17, 2016

Beat The Heat: How To Prevent Heat Related Illnesses In Athletes

basketball heat illness

As athletes take to summer camps and tournaments, heat related illnesses become a bigger concern for coaches and parents. From heat stroke to sun burn, these illnesses are serious and can be easily prevented with a little preparation. 

One of the most important ways to prevent heat related illnesses is to be able to recognize them and take action immediately. Here are some of the most common conditions: 

Heat Cramps 

Heat cramps are usually the first sign of a developing a serious heat related illness. They are muscle spasms caused by loss of large amounts of salt and water.

Symptoms include: Muscle spasms,  sweating and dizziness. 

Treatment: Rest in a cool place, re hydrate with electrolytes and water, massage and ice muscles. 

Heat Exhaustion 

Heat exhaustion is a result of your body overheating.

Symptoms include: rapid pulse, cool and clammy skin, nausea, fatigue and headache. 

Treatment: Move to a cool place, drink cold water, remove heavy or wet clothing, cool the body with ice or a fan. Call 911 the person experiences a fever that exceeds 104 degrees F, seizures, fainting or confusion. 

Heat Stroke 

A heat stroke is a serious condition when the body's temperature regulating system fails due to excessive heat exposure. It is a serious form of heat injury and should be treated like a medical emergency.

Symptoms include: Headache, dizziness, seizures, hot and dry skin, vomiting, confusion, shallow breathing, rapid heart rate, disorientation. 

Treatment: If you suspect a heat stroke in yourself or an athlete, call 911 immediately. Delay in medical treatment could be fatal. While you're waiting for medical attention to arrive, move the person to a cool place, remove unnecessary clothing, and try to cool down their core body temperature (fans, ice baths, cold water).

Sun Burn

You probably already know that your skin turns red and painful after being exposed to the sun for long periods of time. But you may not know what's going on underneath the skin. Even when the burn is not visible, ultraviolet rays from the sun can alter your DNA and cause skin cancer. Not to mention, it will make your skin prematurely age. 

Symptoms include: In most cases, painful and red skin will appear. In some cases, blisters can form. 

Treatment: Aloe Vera gel (or break open an aloe leaf) and avoid direct sunlight. 

[Read More: How to Prevent Sun Poisoning]


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