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9 Tips for Combating Dehydration & Heat Illness In Houston

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

While the rest of the country might be thinking about the coming fall color, veteran Houstonians know that September can still bring some of the city’s hottest weather of the year. With average highs hovering around 89ºF for the month of September, signs of dehydration and heat illness are important to learn and recognize.

An infographic from National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) shares some valuable information concerning dehydration, heat illness and heat stroke. You can find the full infographic below. Here are some of the highlights…

Signs of Minor Heat Illness…

…may include

  • Dizziness
  • Cramps, muscular tightening and spasms
  • Lightheadedness (when not associated with other symptoms)

Signs of Heat Stroke…

Early warning signs of exertional heat stroke may include:

  • Headache, dizziness, confusion and disorientation
  • Excessive sweating and/or flushing
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Chills and/or goose bumps

Signs of exertional heat stroke may include:

  • Core body temperature rises to 105ºF or more (It only takes 30 minutes for cell damage to occur when core body temperature reaches this level.)
  • Signs of nervous system dysfunction, such as confusion, aggression and loss of consciousness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure

(Exertional heat stroke is one of the top three killers of athletes and soldiers in training.)

Dehydration & Heat Illness

NATA advises athletes should consume 200 to 300 milliliters of fluid for every 15 minutes of exercise. That’s about 6.7 to 10 ounces. How can you achieve this and minimize risk of dehydration? NATA recommends…

  • Have sports drinks on hand for workout sessions lasting longer than an hour.
  • Keep beverages cold, as they’re consumed 50% more than warm beverages.
  • Hydrate before, during and after activity.
  • Remove unnecessary equipment, such as helmets and padding, when environmental conditions become extreme.
  • Clothing worn by athletes should be light colored, lightweight and protect against the sun.
  • Practices in the first week should be shorter with lighter equipment, which helps players acclimate to the heat.
  • Take 10 minutes of breaks for every 40 minutes of exercise.
  • Have large cold tubs on hand during practices and games in case cold water immersion is necessary for treating heat stroke.

Learn more about how you can protect yourself while exercising in the heat:

See a Sports Medicine Doctor Near You In Houston

For more information, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546, or schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.