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Heat Alert Risk Student Athletes

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Heat waves, like the one predicted for later this week, can be silent killers, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Right now, student athletes are conducting work-outs prior to the start of school. Precautions should be taken to see that they don’t overdo it. Deaths and illnesses from heat are entirely preventable.

“The body normally cools itself by sweating. When the humidity is high, sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly. That prevents the body from releasing heat, causing its temperature control system to overload,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health.

The risk for heat-related illness and death is higher for infants and the elderly. Others at increased risk are the obese, chronically ill, and people who take certain medicines, such as antidepressants and tranquilizers, that interfere with the body’s temperature regulation.

Good advice for athletes and others:

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Slow down. Reduce activities and stay in a cool place as much as possible. Work outdoors in early morning or in the evening.

Don’t dry out. Drink plenty of water, and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.

Dress for hot weather. Wear light-colored and loosely-fitted clothing to help maintain normal body temperature.

Get out of the heat. Spend as much time as possible in an air-conditioned place, for at least a few hours a day.

Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn makes the body’s job of heat dissipation harder. Wear sunscreen.