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It’s Getting Hot in Here

With temperatures heating up as we come to the end of winter sport and leading into the summer season it’s a great time to discuss heat illness in sport. After seeing the effects of 40+ degree heat and humidity over 90% at the Touch Football World Cup in Putrajaya, Malaysia in May this year it prompted me to review how to best manage heat illness at home.

Heat illness is a spectrum of disorders due to environmental exposure to heat. It includes minor conditions such as heat cramps, heat syncope, and heat exhaustion as well as the more severe condition known as heat stroke.

Adequate hydration starts the day before your game/event. Having a drink bottle on hand at work/school/in the car to sip on regularly throughout the day is a great way to ensure you are adequately hydrated.

A well known way to assess you hydration level is to check on the colour of your urine, as per the image below urine should be clear or a light straw colour. The night before your event you should be aiming to be well hydrated.

Game day you should have your drink bottle with you from the time you wake up and continue to sip water throughout the day.

Other options include cooling towel, ice packs, ice vests and sun protection such as hats and breathable clothing. Ensuring adequate shade and rest periods is important in reducing the risk of heat illness.

Being aware of your sports hot weather policy and acting in accordance with that policy will once again protect yourself and other athletes from heat illness.

If you do succumb to the heat, what should you do?

Heat cramps, dizziness and fainting, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can all be caused by dehydration. If any of the above do occur, it is important that the activity is ceased and you move to q cool, quiet place. Increase your fluid intake and rest before returning to activity. If no improvement is seen, or symptoms are severe, it is important that medical attention is sought after immediately, so call 000!