Hydration Related to Heat Illnesses & Hyponatremia
Did you know . . .
- that kids sweat less than adults,
- by the time a child gets thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated?
Drinking water is a natural and healthy way for us to stay hydrated.
Dehydration, a depletion or imbalance of fluids or electrolytes in the body, when coupled with extended exposure to heat or the sun, can cause heat exhaustion.
PREVENTING HEAT EXHAUSTION AND DEHYDRATION
If you know you’ll be exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time, take the necessary precautions to prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration:
- drink plenty of water
- wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
- cover up your skin from the sun as much as possible with clothing, an umbrella, sunscreen, hats, glasses, etc.
- limit physical activity
Hyponatremia, a low concentration of sodium in the blood, has become more common in athletes as more people are participating in endurance sports lasting more than three hours, such as marathons. Prolonged activity and excessive sweat production increases the risk of an athlete having too little sodium in their bloodstream during training and competition.
The hyponatremia or overhydration associated with prolonged exercise arises primarily from fluid overload, under replacement of sodium losses, or both. When blood sodium concentration falls to alarmingly low levels, a rapid and dangerous swelling of the brain occurs, the result can be seizures, coma or even death.
Sodium is lost in sweat, therefore it is very important for athletes who exercise at a high intensity to get adequate sodium before, during and after exercise, especially as they continue to drink water.
Hyponatremia signs and symptoms include:
- a headache
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of energy, fatigue, drowsiness
- restlessness and irritability
- muscle weakness, cramps or spasms
ABOUT MICHIGAN SPORTS & SPINE CENTER:
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