School Sports: Keeping Cool

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about the start of the fall school sports season. The traditional fall sports actually start during the summer with practices, and in much of the country, that means intense activity in intense heat.

The most important thing for athletes to keep in mind as they practice in hot weather is hydration. Take frequent water breaks to replace fluids lost to sweat. Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says water is the best choice for hydration, but you may need a sports drink to replenish yourself if you’ve been active in the heat for more than 90 minutes. Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol because these can make you jittery or cloud your judgment so you won’t notice signs of dehydration. Danger signs include weakness, exhaustion or delirium. Keep an eye on your teammates because they may not realize they’re in trouble.

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August 2011

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