As an emergency physician, we are seeing more and more cases of heat stroke in young athletes. Heat stroke is a potentially deadly illness that can also cause brain damage if not identified and treated early. The keys to preventing heat stroke lie in:
(1) Prevention: pre-hydrating, avoiding prolonged periods of activity at the hottest parts of the day, slowly increasing your activity levels before engaging in intense exercise,
(2) Identification: if an athlete’s urine output has decreased or is extremely dark, they have stopped sweating despite the heat (paradoxically, once your body temperature rises above a certain level, you lose your compensatory mechanisms, causing a rapid spiral of ever-increasing heat), or they seem to be acting strangely/confused, you must ACT QUICKLY.
(1) Go to the nearest Emergency Department
(2) What YOU can do: while you’re waiting for an ambulance or taking them to the emergency department, there are some KEY measures that you can do.
-remove all heavy sports or protective gear, including hats
-take cold washcloths and put it on them, especially in core areas such as groin and underarms
-spray them with cold water and place the fan or air conditioning direcly at them to emulate sweating
Read this article recently posted in USAToday for more information: