Keep Cool; Stay Hydrated

Understanding the concept of dehydration will allow us to protect the health and safety of all athletes and individuals participating in physical activity.

Recognizing the symptoms of dehydration is important so that the individual can receive the appropriate treatment necessary to fully recover.  The Mayo Clinic outlines warning signs of dehydration that should be noted:

Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:

Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:

Some of the warning signs may present themselves before an athletic event; therefore communication between the athlete, family members, coaching staff, and other personnel is vital.

There are many precautions that should be brought into perspective to decrease the risk of dehydration. Drinking plenty of fluids is essential to ensure that the individual is properly hydrated.

The Mayo Clinic suggests drinking two 16-ounce glasses one to two hours before participating in an outdoor activity; and consuming 10 ounces every 10-15 minutes when outside. Have a water bottle nearby so that water can be consumed readily. Electrolytes may need to be replenished so drinking beverages such as Gatorade would be sufficient.

Wearing light and brighter clothing helps to repel the heat that can potentially get absorbed in darker items. The athlete’s past medical history is crucial to understand the full capability and capacity during adverse weather conditions. It’s also important to recognize if the sporting event will have warmer temperatures for that day, in which educating individuals on dehydration becomes a critical role to ensure everyone is hydrated and safe to participate.

Dehydration can lead to serious health risk and complications. Taking the necessary steps to prevent dehydration and stay hydrated will ultimately help improve not only the performance of an individual during competition, but overall safety and longevity.

– Eric Trauber, PT, DPT, CSCS

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