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Health experts say athletes and coaches should be wary of heat stroke as August approaches

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 1:42 AM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - As temperatures heat up, health experts say athletes and coaches should be wary of heat stroke.

Paramedic and Texas A&M Associate Clinical Professor Mike Sandlin says heat stroke affects thousands of athletes per year, but it’s 100% preventable.

Some signs of oncoming heat stroke include sweating profusely, extreme thirst, feeling sick, and confusion. Sandlin says when the body stops sweating is an even more ominous sign because that means it has no more fluids to give up.

Sandlin says the humidity can make it more of problem here in Texas, especially since August tends to be the hottest month of the year.

”When you sweat, that doesn’t really cool it off. It’s the evaporation of that sweat off your body,” Sandlin said. “That takes the heat away from you, and so in Texas, and a lot of parts of Texas, when you have high humidity like that, that sweat stays on your skin. Unless that stuff evaporates, you’ll maintain a lot of your body heat.”

In rare cases, heat stroke can lead to death, but Sandlin says it’s easily preventable if both players and coaches pay close attention to the signs and symptoms. He says always stay hydrated and to rest.

“If you’re a coach or around kids, ask them how they’re feeling,” Sandlin said. “It’s not something that’s going to sneak up on you. Generally speaking, you’ll show some of those signs and symptoms. When someone starts feeling a little nauseous or they’re getting very thirsty, stop and drink something and get out of the heat for a little bit. If you see someone displaying those, you can nip it really quick.”

Sandlin also says people should give their bodies about a week to acclimate to warmer temperatures if they’re just beginning to exercise in them again.

“Every spring, we kind of have to take it easier for at least a couple of weeks before your body really makes the adjustments,” Sandlin said. “One, you’ll sweat more. The other thing is, you’ll sweat earlier. In just the span of a week or two, you’ll sweat more and sweat sooner, but you’ll maintain more of your electrolytes.”

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