Beating the summer heat

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Athletes reminded to keep pumping fluids

The Missouri State High School Activities Association issued a reminder to all member schools and athletes this week to stay hydrated as the summer temperatures begin to reach near 100 degrees.

For some individuals, working outside or participating in summer sports camps is unavoidable. In these cases, extreme caution and care should be taken to ensure that an individual doesn’t succumb to the extreme elements.

Most health professionals state that the average human needs 64 ounces of water daily to perform at normal levels.

For the weekend warrior and student athlete, caution must be used to ensure proper hydration.

As a person perspires, the body loses more than just water.

An athlete’s body sweats out vitamins, sugars, electrolytes and salt. Products like Gatorade, Powerade and Vitamin Water are recommended to help fight dehydration.

There are three categories of dehydration: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

However a person doesn’t have to start at one stage and progress to the others.

Each category of dehydration has its own warning signs:

• Heat cramps: Warning signs include muscle cramping, a sick feeling to one’s stomach and joint pain. Persons who suffers from this condition need to stop whatever activity they are involved in, stretch and massage the area and drink cold fluids.

• Heat exhaustion: Warning signs include a body temperature of up to 102 degrees, pale complexion, chills and loss of appetite. It is important to note that these conditions are not life threatening at this stage but must be dealt with immediately to prevent further progression. A person suffering from these symptoms needs to stop and remove pads or socially acceptable clothing, get to a cool place and push liquids. If the condition is extreme enough, medical attention may be needed.

• Heat stroke: A heat stroke is deemed a medical emergency. Its symptoms include body temperatures in excess of 104 degrees, loss of appetite, loss of consciousness.

MSHSAA does have some practical advice to beat the heat:

• Keep a cool wet cloth, ice pack or cool pack near to help cool down.

• Start exercise routines or activities earlier in the day.

• Get plenty of rest, allowing the body a chance to recover from the heat.

• Drink lots of fluids. Staying hydrated is key.

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