Sports: How to Detect and Prevent Heat Injuries

Heat Stress

What is heat stress? Basically, take a hot day and high humidity and it can add up to heat stress. This condition occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. This is the body's way of saying, "I can't take the heat anymore." There are three kinds of heat-related problems you may experience: heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. They can occur separately or in combination.

Heat Stroke: Symptoms and First Aid

Heat stroke is a medical emergency! Heatstroke occurs when the body's heat regulating system breaks down under stress and sweating stops. Unless the victim receives quick treatment, death can occur.



  • No sweating (or victim may be sweating profusely)
  • High body temperature (105 degrees or more)
  • Hot, dry, flushed skin
  • Confused, delirious behavior
  • Loss of consciousness or coma

    First Aid:
  • Immediately call for medical help, and then start first aid
  • Move the victim to a cool place
  • Cool the victim quickly by giving a cool bath (sponging with cool water) and by fanning
  • Treat for shock
  • Offer a conscious person half a glass of water every 15 minutes


Heat Exhaustion

This is a more serious disorder that develops when the body loses more fluid through sweating than it is taking in.



  • Sweating profusely
  • Weakness
  • Clammy skin
  • Dizziness
  • Pale or flushed face
  • Nausea
  • Near normal body temperature

    First Aid:
  • Move the person to shade or a cool place.
  • Have patient lie on their back with feet elevated.
  • If conscious, give half a glass of water every 15 minutes.
  • Get medical help.

    Mild Disorders (Warning Signs):

    Heat Cramps: Tend to attack the muscles that do the hardest work, especially when it is hot. A good rule is to drink half a glass of water every 15 minutes for an hour if you experience heat cramps.

    Fainting: Lets you know your body is having difficulty coping with the heat. As you know when you faint, you fall and when you are on the field and fall you can get hurt or hurt others.

    Prickly Heat: A rash caused when sweat can't evaporate. Sweat ducts become clogged and sweat glands become inflamed.
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