Heat-related illness in young athletes

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Learn how to prevent and treat heat-related illness in children and teens who exercise in hot and humid conditions.

Key points

  • A number of factors make heat-related illness more likely for young athletes. These include wearing clothing or protective equipment that does not allow enough heat to escape from the body, exercising too intensively or for too long in the heat and not having enough rest between same-day training sessions and competitions.
  • Dehydration is a common heat-related illness. If it is not treated in time or correctly, it can result in heat cramps, hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood), heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Hyponatremia, heat cramps and heat exhaustion can usually be treated first by replacing lost fluids and salt, resting in a shaded area and removing extra clothing or equipment, if any. A child should see a doctor only if their symptoms last more than an hour or get worse.
  • Heat stroke is a medical emergency. While waiting for a doctor, it is important to cool the child using whatever means are available, such as immersing them in or spraying them with cold water.
  • To prevent the risk of heat-related illness during physical activity, drink enough fluids before, during and after exercise, take frequent breaks, reduce the intensity and length of the exercise and wear lightweight and loose clothing.
Last updated: ஜூலை 13th 2022