29.11.2012

Exercise safely in heatwave

With today’s temperature predicted to hit 38C and with summer not having even begun, those who are active need to know how to be prepared for the hot conditions or run the risk of heat injury, warns Sports Medicine Australia.

Exercising or playing sport in hot or humid conditions can lead to dehydration, heat illness and sometimes the more serious consequence of heat stroke.

Sports Physician and Sports Medicine Australia spokesperson, Dr David Bolzonello says heat injuries can be avoided, if the right precautions are taken.

“Heat illness is a serious matter that can result in the life-threatening condition of heat stroke, if left untreated. While people need to exercise regularly to stay healthy, they should take certain precautions if exercising in a hot or humid environment,” said Dr Bolzonello.

“Those exercising need to know what can contribute to heat illness, such as high air temperature, heavy clothing, high humidity, lack of fitness and high exercise intensity. They should also know the symptoms of heat illness – light-headedness, nausea, headache, confusion, not sweating, and aggressive or irrational behaviour.

“Knowing how to prepare for heat illness, what causes it and what to look out for will help people avoid it,” said Dr Bolzonello.

Children may also be at a greater risk due to their bodies responding less efficiently to heat, feeling hotter and having greater difficulty getting rid of heat from their body.

To help active children and adults exercise safely during the hot weather, Sports Medicine Australia offers these timely tips:

* Stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and after exercise.

* Schedule activity to avoid the hottest part of the day.

* Take rest breaks, in the shade if possible.

* Wear light coloured, lightweight and loose fitting clothing that allows easy evaporation of sweat from the skin. Wear sunglasses, 30+ sunscreen and a hat.

* Reduce the duration and intensity of a warm up to minimise an increase in body heat and temperature.

* Do not take part in strenuous activity if you have recently experienced a high temperature, infection, diarrhoea or vomiting.

* If you have a medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, a heart problem, epilepsy or obesity, are taking medication, or are pregnant; you may experience difficulties exercising in the heat. If unsure you should seek advice from a sports medicine professional.

* Persons suffering from heat illness can recover rapidly with assistance – laying down in a cool place, removing excess clothing, wetting skin or using ice packs, and drinking cool water. However if symptoms do not improve, seek medical assistance.

For further advice visit http://sma.org.au

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