Your Health: Preventing Heat Exhaustion
Published August 15th, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- On average, about 675 people die each year in the US from problems in the heat.
The CDC reports that's more than are killed from tornadoes, hurricanes, or any other weather event combined.
Some of the most at risk? Those who workout in the elements - especially student athletes.
Officials say it's all about education, and for some athletes, having athletic trainers at local high schools could mean the difference between a successful season and major injury.
For athletes like 16-year-old Jaleel Brown, these practices are grueling.
"in this heat, you gotta fight dehydration and being mentally tired," Brown says.
Heat exhaustion can affect anyone outside in Florida's hot and humid summers, but for these young men it's especially a concern.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include everything from a headache and fatigue to nausea and muscle cramps.
If not recognized quickly, they can become heat stroke.
"Someone could go from just feeling exhausted to getting close to heat stroke in under 10 minutes," says Dr. Brady Tripp, the Director of the University of Florida Graduate Athletic Training Education Program.
Sports medicine physicians from UF Health are working with athletic trainers and coaches to make sure they know what to look for.
"If they're cooled within the first 15 minutes we know that death in those kids is 100% preventable," says Dr. Seth Smith from the UF Health Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Institute, "the unfortunate reality is that as time passes and you miss the first 15 to 30 minutes to cool those kids the chances of their survival goes down significantly"
To prevent heat illness, athletes are acclimated to conditioning all summer long.
"All of us want them the first friday night to be ready to go not cramping up in shape so that's our goal not only to have them ready to play from an X's and O's standpoint but also from a conditioning standpoint."
To avoid heat illness experts say frequent breaks from the sun are important, and more than anything else - stay hydrated.
The CDC also says the elderly, young children, and people with chronic medical conditions are some of the most at risk for heat illness.
For more information about heat exhaustion and how to prevent it, visit http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/faq.asp
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