Beating the Heat for Young Athletes

Kids and outdoor activities go hand in hand. But did you know that overheating can be a real danger? Heat illness is a type of injury to the body due to overheating. It causes the internal body temperature, or core body temperature, to rise to unhealthy levels. There are many causes and factors that can contribute to heat illness. Some of these include: weather conditions such as high humidity, lack of trade winds or time of day of the exercise; health-related influences like dehydration, medications, obesity or being out of shape; and other aspects like working out too hard, taking too few rest breaks, the temperature of the exercise environment and the clothing and sports gear a sport requires.

The best way to prevent heat illness is to educate coaches, parents, referees, athletic trainers, and athletes about heat illness: what it looks like, what is feels like, how to treat it, and how to prevent it. Some great precautions athletes can take include, practicing at cooler times of the day (early morning, late afternoon or early evening); wearing lightweight, breathable clothing when exercising; keeping well-hydrated before, during, and after workouts; wearing sunscreen; and taking frequent rest breaks in the shade.

If someone is just getting back into exercising or is new to an activity, take it slow! Give the body 10-14 days to slowly and progressively get used to doing activities in a hot environment. Do not try to lose weight by wearing heavy layers of clothing or plastic bags while exercising. And remember, exercising while sick, especially with a fever, is a no-no.

The Queen’s Center for Sports Medicine at both Punchbowl and West Oahu campuses, provides comprehensive care for the treatment and prevention of sports injuries and conditions for patients of all ages. To make an appointment, call 808-691-4449.