Precautions

Updated Wednesday December 23, 2015 by Cheryl Erickson.

Prevention:

Follow guidelines for restricting activities based on the heat stress index. Temperature and relative humidity can be determined by using a sling psychrometer or can be obtained by listening to weather broadcasts. 
Athletes should exercise preconditioning, heat acclimatization and water-replacement regimens. As the athlete becomes accustomed to hot weather activity, he or she perspires more freely (and thus dissipates body heat) and excretes salt (and thus conserves sodium). With a graduated training regime, such acclimatization can be expected to take place over a period of about one week. 
Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing. 
Learn to recognize those people who may be predisposed to heat illness--victims of chronic disease, obesity, etc.--and watch them closely. 

 

Heat-Stress Precautions 

  • Drink plenty of fluids; avoid drinks containing sugar. 
  • Plan strenuous outdoor activity for early or late in the day when it is cooler. 
  • Stay indoors and in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible unless your heat tolerance is well-established. If air-conditioning is not available, pull shades over windows and use cross-ventilation and fans to cool rooms. In very high temperatures and humidity, turn off fans or aim them towards windows. 
  • Take frequent breaks when working outdoors. 
  • Eat more frequently but make sure meals are well-balanced and light. 
  • Consult with a physician about effects of sun and heat exposure while taking prescription drugs such as diuretics, antihistamines or other drugs. 
  • At first signs of heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps), move to a cooler place, rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if  conditions do not improve. 
  • Wear sun block, hats and loose, light clothes to protect skin from sun’s harmful rays. 

 

Conclusion:

A Temperature-Humidity Index (THI) of 105qF = Danger. Cancel or delay workouts until this “Index” drops below the danger level or a trainer or doctor is on site during the activity. The possibility of heat problems still exist at lower levels of the “Index”, and caution should be observed during any time of the day. 

Practice very early or late in the day, but you still must consider the THI.
Each student should be weighed before and after practice. If he/she cannot be re-hydrated to within 1-2 pounds of his/her pre-practice weight, he/she should be held out of the next practice. 

Free access to WATER ANY TIME, BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER PRACTICE, WILL BE ENCOURAGED. Give students a chance to drink water between individual drills and plays during scrimmages. Salt should be added to food if needed, but plain water is the safest, most effective drink during practice. 

Other methods for increasing safety and comfort during hot weather practice include providing shade, misters, fans, cold towels and, most importantly,LOTS OF WATER.
Pull the student from practice if he/she looks worn out, is not sweating or experiences chills. Watch athletes carefully for signs of trouble, particularly the determined athlete who may not report discomfort. In the majority of heat related problems, the student/player has a contributing experience 24 hours before the problem. The contributing factor may be lack of sleep, or something taken internally, such as liquid, food, or medicine. 

From Texas Department of Health