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Summer Heat Safety for Student Athletes


As summer heats up and temperatures get warmer, it is important to take precautions and protect yourself from heat illness while exercising outdoors. Extremely high temperatures put athletes at an increased risk for heat illness and knowing the steps for prevention can help keep you safe.

When to exercise

  • Avoid the midday sun by exercising before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m., if possible

  • If you have to exercise in the middle of the day, try to do it in shady areas

  • When exercising in high heat and humidity, rest 10 minutes for every hour

What to wear

  • Wear light-weight and breathable clothing

  • Avoid dark clothing

  • Change wet clothing frequently

  • Wear sunscreen. A sunburn can make it harder for your body to cool itself

Staying hydrated

  • Drink 16-20 ounces of fluid (approximately one bottle of water or sports drink) 2-4 hours before exercise

  • 10 minutes before exercise drink another 5-10 ounces of fluid

  • During exercise, drink 5-10 ounces every 15-20 minutes

  • After one hour of exercise, choose a sports drink for energy and electrolytes

  • After exercise, consume 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during exercise

  • Avoid caffeinated, protein and alcoholic drinks including soda, coffee and tea

  • After hard exercise for more than 60-90 minutes, athletes may need a recovery drink. Chocolate milk can be beneficial as it has an excellent ratio of fats and sugars

Heat illness signs and symptoms

  • Nausea

  • Headache

  • Weakness

  • Poor concentration

  • Flushed skin

  • Lightheadedness

  • Fatigue

  • Vomiting

If you develop any of these symptoms, you must take steps to lower your body temperature and get hydrated. Stop exercising immediately and get out of the heat. Cool your body down by removing extra clothing or equipment. Sit in a tub of cold water or place wet towels or ice pack on your neck, forehead and under your arms. Continue to drink fluids. If your condition gets worse or you don't start to feel better, seek medical attention or speak with your healthcare provider.