Looks like young people can’t stand the heat—and they aren’t getting out of it soon enough.
Of the roughly 6,000 people receiving emergency treatment each year for heat illness suffered while playing sports, more than a third of them are ages 15-19, most (75 percent) are men and most occurrences happen when participants are playing football or exercising, a new CDC report says.
And as most of the nation struggles with extreme heat, coaches and parents need to be aware they can help prevent emergency care by taking steps to prevent young athletes from succumbing to the heat, the CDC warns. Coaches should schedule frequent rest breaks, encourage drinking plenty of fluids and set up practices that begin during summer months to increase in frequency, duration and intensity gradually to allow athletes to acclimate to the heat.
Although the majority of emergency department visits resulted in the patient being treated and released, 7.1 percent of patients were hospitalized or transferred to another facility for a higher level of care, the report shows.
Without prompt treatment, severe heat illness can cause organ failure, brain damage and death. The most dangerous month is August, which accounts for 33.2 percent of ER visits. Data suggests 19.8 percent of the problems occur in July, 13.5 percent in September, and 12.9 percent in June.
The CDC points out that all heat illnesses are preventable. Here are some tips to beating the heat:
- Recognize symptoms of heat illness, including dehydration, nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness or a change in mental status
- Increase fluid intake
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
- Limit activity on hot or very humid days
- Exercise early or late in the day when it is cooler
- Have an exercise partner
The CDC report examined data from 2001 through 2009 from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, an ongoing surveillance system that monitors consumer product-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments.