Type of heat illness
There are five types of heat illness namely : dehydration heat cramps, heat fatigue, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
There are a number of warnings when an athlete is experiencing dehydration namely: being thirsty, irritability, headaches, weakness, dizziness, cramps, nausea and decreased performance.
Heat illness continuum
• Heat Cramps
• Heat Exhaustion
• Heat Stroke
This is the first stage of heat illness continuum. It is characterised by painful cramps and spasms of active muscles most common in the calf muscles. It is caused by intense prolonged exercise in the heat, dehydration, sweating, and loss of electrolytes.
Water, Gentle Stretch, Rest, and Observation.
Feeling of weakness and tiredness caused by depletion of water
and salt due to exercise in heat.
Gentle stretch, rest and observations.
Precautions and prevention
- Know your athlete’s past medical history concerning heat illness,
- Has he or she ever suffered from heat illness or are there any other medical conditions that may predispose the athlete to a heat illness with younger athletes, obtain this information from parents.
- Beware that poorly-conditioned athletes are more susceptible to heat illness.
- Other athletes who are susceptible are those that are over weight, who sweat profusely, and athletes who constantly compete and full capacity
- General signs of heat illness are nausea, incoherence fatigue, weakness, vomiting, cramps, weak/rapid pulse, visual disturbance and unsteadness.
- Allow athlete to drink as much water as he/she would like
- Keep ice cold water available because cold water is absorbed by the body quicker than arm water
- keep cool, moist towels available that may be used to cool athlete
Drink according to a schedule based on individual needs.
• If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
• Drink before, during, and after practices and games.
What to drink during exercises
• Water is the best replacement in most cases.
• If exercise lasts more than 45 minutes or is intense, a sports
drink should be provided during the session.
• Use sports drinks containing carbohydrates.
• The carbohydrate concentration in the Ideal fluid replacement
solution should be 6-8% (g/100ml).
• Fluids containing low sodium are beneficial to increasing thirst
as well as offsetting the amount lost in sweat.
• Cool beverages at temperatures of 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit
What not to drink during exercises
• Fruit Juices, carbohydrate gels, sodas, and sports drinks that
have carbohydrate levels greater than 8%. This Affects Fluid
• Beverages containing caffeine, alcohol, and carbonation because
they can dehydrate the body.
- Drink 17-20 ounces of water or sports drink 2-3hours before
- Drink another 7-10 ounces of water or sports drink 10-20
minutes before exercise.
- Drink early – even minimal dehydration compromises
performance in general, drink at Least 7-10 ounces of water or
sports drink every 10-20 Minutes.
- Within 2 hours of exercise, drink enough to replace any weight
loss from exercise.
- Drink approximately 20-24 Ounces of water or sports drink per
pound of weight loss.