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Heat Illness Information

Symptoms of Heat Illness:

Heat illnesses are a spectrum of disorders that range from the very mild heat rash and heat cramps to the serious heat exhaustion and life-threatening heat stroke. Be alert to the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Cramps: Heat cramps are painful cramps of muscles, usually in the stomach, legs, and/or arms. They are caused by loss of electrolytes in the body due to excessive sweating. Heat cramps may occur without the individual feeling thirsty. Treat by moving athlete to a cool shady area or inside a vehicle with air conditioning running. Give athlete sports drink and water as tolerated (athlete should drink 16oz. of fluid). Continue to monitor athlete.

Heat Exhaustion: Peripheral vascular collapse due to excessive water and salt depletion in the body. Symptoms include profuse sweating, headache, weakness, pallor, nausea, vomiting, mild dyspnea (shortness of breath), and palpitations. The individual may become faint and lose consciousness. The blood pressure may be low, the body temperature may be elevated or normal, heart beat rate may be high, and the pupils may be dilated. It can occur in an otherwise fit individual involved in any hot weather activity especially if the person is not acclimatized to that environment. Treat by moving athlete to a cool shady area or inside a vehicle with air conditioning running. Remove equipment and loosen clothing. Monitor player and give a sports drink and water (athlete should drink 16oz of fluid). Spray or pour water on the individual and fan to cause cooling effect.

Ask a battery of questions slowly: name, age, school, parent’s name. If the athlete is slow to respond or unresponsive, medical attention is needed.

Heat Stroke: Heat Stroke is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY – CALL 911!!!

This is a medical emergency that may result in death if care is delayed. It is typically defined as a core temperature greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit or any change in mental status of an affected individual with any elevated core temperature. It is caused by a failure of the body's ability to maintain optimum core body temperature (cool itself). It occurs more rapidly in personnel who are engaged in activities in a high heat environment than those not physically engaged. If ice packs are available, use them. Place ice packs in armpits and around neck. Heat stroke requires immediate evacuation to a higher level of care.

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