Healthbeat 4: Keeping athletes hydrated during the summer

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) —  We are entering our first full week of summer!

And while many students are enjoying summer break, some student-athletes are spending their time conditioning for fall sports.

Staying hydrated during those hot, humid is imperative.

One concern for athletic trainers during the hot and humid days is hydration for athletes; especially before practice.

“Typically we’ll talk to athletes and ask how much they’ve drank if they’ve eaten anything today. That’s typically more important to me because that’s going to help during the practice and that’s going to tell me who I need to watch out for, who I don’t need to, who needs to drink more during practice and who doesn’t,” said Jordan Whitsell, East High School Athletic Trainer.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that women consume a total of 91 ounces of water per day and 125 ounces for men.

Whitsell says one thing people often forget is that 20-25% of your water intake comes from food.

“So eating your watermelon, cucumbers, your celery, lettuce, fruits a lot of people don’t remember that the water is in those foods,” said Whitsell.

Experts say it’s also important for athletes to eat breakfast and drink that water before any morning practices.

When it comes to sports drinks, Whitsell says there is a time and place for them.

“Sports drinks are good for those one to two-hour practices but the shorter practices we try to say stick to water,” said Whitsell.

Pedialyte is another good source for athletes to have to replenish those electrolytes and potassium lost during long summer workouts.

“It actually probably have more than sports drinks but at the same time it doesn’t have the same amount of sugar, it’s actually less sugar so parents actually love that a lot more,” said Whitsell.

Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the three main heat-related illnesses athletic trainers want to avoid.

According to the Institute of Medicine, dehydration symptoms include lack of thirsty feeling, uneasiness, headache and a decrease in energy.

If officials notice an athlete starting to show symptoms of dehydration they’ll take them off the field, get them into the shade and give them water or a sports drink.

The next is heat exhaustion.

That can begin with cramps that lead to excessive sweating, fatigue, headaches, vision change and nausea.

If an athlete is suffering from heat exhaustion it’s important to get them in the shade, remove protective equipment and tight fit clothing.

The most dangerous of all is heat stroke.

Symptoms include hot, red, dry or damp skin — a fast, strong pulse — headache, dizziness, nausea and confusion.

If someone is suffering from a heat stroke it’s important to call 911 right away, move the person to a cooler place and if possible emerge them into an ice bath to bring their body temperature back down.

Michelle Schoening

Michelle Schoening

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