The Health Department warns athletes, coaches and parents about participating in sports during hot weather. Heat related illnesses are not limited to the elderly, the very young and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk for heat-related illnesses; it is more about who you are, what you are doing when, and what you are putting into your body.
Even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, athletes who do vigorous workouts, especially when the heat index is in the 90s and above, are at high risk for developing heat-related illnesses.
The Health Department encourages athletes to:
- Drink lots of water, and to stay hydrated by not waiting until they feel thirsty to drink it. A good rule of thumb is, “If you are thirsty, you are already beginning to dehydrate.”
- If you are on water pills or a fluid-restricted diet, check with your doctor to see how much you should drink when the weather is hot.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol as these products serve as stimulants or diuretics and make the body dehydrate faster.
- Avoid any performance-enhancing products that increase your metabolism, as they increase your body temperature.
- Work out early in the morning when the temperatures are cooler.
For more information about heat-related illnesses, go to the CDC Web site.