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Heat Safety Precautions May Save Student Athletes

SATURDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Heat safety needs to be at the forefront as training gets under way for many high school sports this month, an expert says.

"Players and coaches should take common-sense precautions to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke," Loyola University Health System athletic trainer Jennifer Janczak said in a university news release. In 2010, four high school football players died of heat stroke, according to the release.

She offers the following heat safety tips for high school athletes:

  • Drink water before practice and during breaks, even if you're not thirsty.
  • Don't drink beverages with caffeine.
  • Monitor your urine. If it's dark, you're not drinking enough water.
  • Alert your coach or athletic trainer if you experience signs of heat exhaustion, which include dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating, headache or heavy sweating. Rest in an air-conditioned room or in the shade.
  • Untreated heat exhaustion can lead to potentially deadly heat stroke, which requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of heat stroke include skin that feels hot but not sweaty, shortness of breath, confusion, vomiting and loss of consciousness.

Janczak also noted that high school athletes should expect to have sore muscles when starting a new season or doing new drills. Warming up and stretching can help reduce the amount of soreness.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, Aug. 4, 2011

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