Heat Exhaustion

NOTE: This is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

I’ll never forget the soccer tournament I played in Rhode Island. The temperature had reached 98 degrees. It was so hot that the tournament directors required referees to stop games every 15 minutes for players to rehydrate. As a coach, parent, or player, it’s very important that you remember to take the time to rehydrate or you risk the condition of heat exhaustion.

Ever wonder why you sweat? It’s the body’s way of controlling your temperature. The problem with sweating during very hot and humid weather is that it does nothing to cool your body off. It’s actually quite the opposite. Your body continues to sweat, which makes you lose fluids. If these fluids are not replaced, you begin to dehydrate. Your body begins to overheat and your temperature increases leading to heat exhaustion.

Early symptoms of heat exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Thirst
  • Muscle cramps

Later symptoms of heat exhaustion

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • Weakness
  • Fainting
  • Pale, cool, and clammy skin

The key to preventing heat exhaustion is to replace the fluids lost from sweating and cool down the body. Drink lots of fluids, specifically water and sports drinks like Gatorade. Do not drink alcohol or beverages with caffeine. Get plenty of rest as well.