Recognizing heat illness and treating it appropriately is crucial in preventing injuries and even death. These guidelines from the National Athletic Trainers' Association summarize what to do:
Dehyrdation: Fluids lost during physical activity must be replenished. If a person is exhibiting symptoms that include dry mouth,thirst,headache,dizziness or cramps,he or she should move to a cool environment and rehydrate. In some cases the person should seek medical attention.
Heat Stroke: Symptoms include altered consciousness,seizures,confusion,emotional instability,irrational behavior or decreased mental acuity. Immediate medical treatment should be sought.
Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms include loss of coordination,dizziness,fainting,dehydration,profuse sweating,pale skin,headache,nausea,vomiting,diarrhea and persistent muscle cramps. A person exhibiting these symptoms should immediately rehydrate,move to a cool area,remove excess clothing and monitor vital signs. If there is no improvement,medical treatment is necessary.
Heat Cramps: Symptoms include intense pain and persistent muscle contractions. Adequate stretching,additional salt intake,a massage and icing after exercise can remedy the pain.
Hyponatremia: Results from decreased sodium level from over hydration or inadequate sodium intake. Symptoms include headache,nausea,vomiting (often repetitive) and swelling of the hands and feet. It can be avoided if fluid consumption does not exceed fluid losses.
For more information,go to: http://www.nata.org and click on “public.”