Realize Heat Illnesses Can Happen Fast
One of the most common sports-related injuries among children and teenagers is heat illness. This is simply being in the heat for too long and not staying hydrated enough.
Also, more than 9,000 high school athletes are treated for heat illness each year. The solution is to be a mindful parent and also talk with school coaches.
Pay Attention to the Heat Index
One of the keys for parents is to know the “heat index.” The heat index is what the heat FEELS LIKE when you combine the actual air temperature with humidity.
Some weather apps might refer to the heat index as “it feels like” … and then list a heat index temperature. Anytime the heat index is over 96, you want to be really, really careful.
This is a screen grab from AccuWeather.com. Under the large-font 95 degree temperature you see the “RealFeel” is 106 degrees — that is referring to the heat index, or how the temperature really feels to your body.
Start Hydrating With Breakfast
Teach your child to start hydrating when your child gets up in the morning because we all wake up dehydrated.
Make sure your child drinks plenty of water during the day by bringing a water bottle. Avoid sugary drinks for your child as a way to get hydrated. And drink lots of water after practices and games.
Here at SMG we like the budget friendly MAVEA Microdisc water filters and water bottles because they create great-tasting water that our kids will drink — see this research here on comparing water filters. We like how MAVEA doesn’t add aluminum into your child’s water and doesn’t break your budget when it’s time to replace the filter.
Communicate With Your Child’s Coach
Talk to your child’s coach to find out how often there are water breaks during practices and games. You want to hear that there is a hydration plan and that the coach and staff know how to recognize dehydration.
Recognize Signs of Dehydration
It’s important to be able to know what is dehydration AND catch it early so that it doesn’t develop into heat exhaustion or other more serious conditions like a heat stroke.
The Mayo Clinc says typical signs of dehydration include:
- lots of thirst
- feeling dizzy
- leg cramps
- really, really tired
Your child should also know these signs so that he or she can report to a parent or coach. Self-awareness can help to prevent dehydration at its earliest stage.