Summer is almost here, and with it comes our love for outdoor sports and activities. That being said, coaches, trainers and parents of young athletes should all be on the lookout for heat related injuries. Additionally, athletes themselves should learn to be aware of the dangerous signs associated with hot temperatures and exhaustion. Examples of heat related injuries include:

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps that occur during or after exercise on a hot day. They usually involve the larger muscles groups (legs, chest or abdomen), but they can also form at the extremities (fingers and toes).

Heat cramps are thought to be caused by a deficiency in electrolytes. As a result, the muscles may spasm or jerk involuntarily. Also, it is important to note that cramping may also be delayed and can occur a few hours after exercise. Heat cramps can be treated by rehydrating with fluids by mouth or intravenously (IV). They can be prevented by avoiding strenuous work or exercise in a hot environment, and staying hydrated.

Heat Exhaustion

Possible heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:

-Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
-Heavy sweating
-Faintness
-Dizziness
-Fatigue
-Weak, rapid pulse
-Low blood pressure upon standing
-Muscle cramps
-Nausea
-Headache
-Heat cramps, copious sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache and weakness.

When experiencing any of these symptoms stop all activity immediately and seek medical attention!

Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a condition caused by overheating of the body. It is usually a result of prolonged exposure to, or physical exertion in, high temperatures and can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher.

This is the most serious form of heat injury and requires emergency treatment!  Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage gets worse the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death. Symptoms include: headache, rapid heart rate and breathing, nausea, vomiting, and altered behavior or mental state. 

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