Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Take the Heat.Seriously

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Take the Heat.Seriously

Article excerpt

With summer blazing ahead and temperatures shooting up throughout the country, the guidelines of a new consensus statement on heat-related illnesses from the Inter-Association Task Force on Exertional Heat Illnesses couldn't be more timely. Every year, more than 300 people die of heat-related illnesses, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many others require medical attention owing to exertional heat illnesses such as dehydration, exertional heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and hyponatremia.

"The dangers associated with exercise in the heat are well documented, but proper prevention, recognition and treatment strategies have not been adequately disseminated and implemented," says Douglas Casa, Ph.D., ATC, FACSM, who chaired the expert panel. "The good news is that many cases of exertional heat illness are preventable, and others can be treated."

The panel's goal was straightforward: to create a unified statement to address the basic issues related to the prevention, recognition and treatment of heat-related illnesses, and to offer guidelines that they believe will increase widespread safety standards awareness; reduce risks for both professional and recreational athletes; and recommend effective treatments.

The guidelines call for providing medical services onsite during hot weather and requiring pre-participation physical examinations for recreation participants. The exams, the task force recommends, should include questions regarding fluid intake, weight changes during activity, medication and supplement use, and a history of cramping/heat illnesses. …

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