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Activity-Linked Heat Illness Needs Prompt Attention
Date:6/29/2008

Trainers' group warns summer's temperatures can also bring severe injury

SUNDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- As the mercury continues to rise, people of all ages should take precautions to ward off heat-related illness while exercising, playing or taking part in any kind of physical activity outside.

"Many cases of heat illness are preventable and can be successfully treated if such conditions are properly recognized and appropriate care is provided in a timely manner," Brendon McDermott, a certified athletic trainer with the University of Connecticut, said in a prepared statement. "We're hoping to educate athletes, coaches, parents and health care providers about what can be done to prevent and treat heat illnesses."

The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) recently issued recommendations to help guard against illness related to warm-weather activity:

  • Don't start at full tilt. Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of activity helps ready your body for the heat.
  • Take rest breaks. Add them to the activity and get adequate rest between bouts of exercise. Good sleeping habits also cut your risk of heat-related trouble.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water or sports drinks well before and throughout physical activity in the heat. If your urine turns a darker color -- more like apple juice than lemonade - that's a quick indicator of dehydration.
  • Timing helps. When possible, exercise during the cooler portions of the day -- early morning or late evening.

Back off at signs of trouble. If you don't feel well, reduce the intensity or length of your activity, for example, walk instead of run. If you have symptoms of an illness (e.g., fever, diarrhea, extreme fatigue, etc.) don't exercise at all. These conditions can decrease your body's tolerance for heat and increase your risk of a heat illness.

Even if you think you are prepared, a
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