Prolonged or intense exposure to our scorching Texas temperatures can lead to heat stroke,
which is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. To avoid heat-related
illnesses, it is important that individuals participating in outdoor activities keep hydrated by
playing it safe before and during outdoor activities. Below are some tips to prevent dehydration
and heat-related illnesses.
1. Drink water regardless of whether or not you are thirsty. Thirst is not the only
indicator of the need for fluids. Waiting until you are thirsty before drinking water is not
recommended by then, it could be too late.
2. Drink water before exercise. Guidelines from the National Athletic Trainers and Sports
Nutritionists suggest drinking 12B20 ounces, 2B3 hours before beginning activity.
3. Drink water often during exercise. Drink plenty of water early and often during the
time of physical activity. It’s possible for an athlete to suffer from dehydration within 15
minutes during hot, humid conditions. You should drink 8B12 ounces of water every
15B20 minutes during exercise.
4. Drink water after exercise. According to the National Athletic Trainers and Sports
Nutritionists, drink 3 cups of fluid for every pound lost during exercise. If participating in
two-a-days, 80 percent of an athlete’s lost weight should be replaced before the next
practice, which will help to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
5. Do not restrict fluids during training sessions or competition. Dehydration can
cause athletes to fatigue early and lose coordination skills.
6. Be aware that the use of medications or over-the-counter supplements can affect
thermoregulation in hot weather. Neglecting to stay hydrated while on medications
can increase the chance of suffering from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
7. The smaller the child, the greater the risk for heat exhaustion. Children should drink
3B6 ounces of fluid every 15B20 minutes.
8. Can sports drinks replace water consumption? Dr. James Rohack with Texas A&M
University’s College of Medicine suggests that water is best for simple fluid replacement
and that sports drinks may be an appropriate choice for athletes involved in vigorous
activities since they contain glucose and sodium.
9. Taking salt tablets is NOT recommended. Most foods provide enough sodium.
10. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic and can increase the chance of
dehydration and muscle cramps.
10 Essentials for Avoiding Dehydration, National Association for Sport & Physical Education, 2002.
Beat the Summer Heat by Staying Hydrated, H.E.A.D.s Up Health Texas A&M University, 2005.