Beat heat-related illnesses

Living in the Valley of the sun, we’re fortunate to have year-round sunshine that allows for more outdoor activities. However, if you’re an athlete, recreationalist or weekend warrior, heat-related illnesses can become a challenge. Victoria Eby, DO, sports medicine specialist and independent member of the HonorHealth Medical Staff, shares how you can stay safe from heat-related illnesses while on the move.

Heat-related illnesses can happen anytime

“Heat-related illnesses happen when the body is not able to properly cool itself, and it’s not just on hot days,” says Dr. Eby. “You’re also in danger on days with more moderate temperatures and high humidity, think monsoon season. Additionally, anyone can experience a heat-related illness. You could still be at risk if you don’t have access to air conditioning, or if you work outside or even inside in a hot environment.”


The four most common heat-related illnesses are:

  • Heat cramps – these often happen in the legs and have milder symptoms.
  • Heat syncope – causes you to feel dizzy, nauseous and brief loss of consciousness.
  • Heat exhaustion – is a moderate condition that may cause nausea, headaches, vomiting, fever, fatigue and feeling faint.  
  • Heat stroke – is the most severe type of heat illness and some symptoms include high fever, rapid heart rate, nausea, vomiting, lethargy and confusion.


How to prevent heat-related illnesses

  1. Help your body adjust to the heat. Modify or reduce activity for the first ten to 14 days. If the weather changes from hot and dry, to a little bit cooler and very humid, allow time to readjust to these newer weather conditions.
  2. Stay hydrated: Drink before, during and after activities. If you participate in physical activities, consider adding an electrolyte replacement for warm, hot days. If you have a child participating in sports, encourage them to take frequent breaks to rest and hydrate.
  3. Early recognition and cooling. Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and have a plan if you or someone you know starts experiencing symptoms.
  4. Be mindful of what you’re wearing. Wear light-colored, lightweight, loose fighting clothing in a single layer on hot days.
  5. Keep the time of day in mind. Schedule your activities for the coolest times of the day – first thing in the morning or after the sun has set.
  6. Consult a sports medicine physician. If your child is preparing to participate in an organized sport or other physical activity, schedule a sports physical with one of our specialists at HonorHealth Sports Medicine. Together, you can discuss your child’s health history and recommendations to minimize the risk of heat-related illnesses.
Learn more about heat-related illnesses from experts at HonorHealth

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