July 8, 2008

Weekend Athletes at Risk for Heat Illness

More and more, young adults are among those in emergency rooms for heat-related illnesses -- especially weekend warriors, a U.S. doctor says.

Dr. Paul Pepe of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas says

rising temperatures make it paramount to keep the old and the young cool and well-hydrated, but young adults, especially week-end warriors -- need to take precautions to avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

In the past, the typical people we saw were the ones who couldn't fend for themselves -- the very young and the very old, Pepe says in a statement. Now, young men and women who work in super-cool office environments and spend the weekends playing outdoors are getting into trouble because their bodies haven't had a chance to adapt to the hot weather.

To avoid joining the parade in emergency rooms for hot weather-related illnesses, Pepe advises:

-- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting and light-colored clothing.

-- Stay in a well-ventilated area, even if working indoors.

-- Drink water. Avoid too much sugar and caffeine.

-- Avoid alcohol; a cool beverage might sound good but it only dehydrates and impairs a person's ability to recognize danger signs.

-- Use a buddy system to keep an eye on one another.