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How should I prepare for heat-related illness at outdoor sporting events?

The best way to prevent heat-related illness at outdoor sporting events is hydration, hydration, hydration. When it is hot outside we lose a lot of fluids just to keep our body cool. As we exercise, our body temperature increases and we sweat, so we lose even more fluids. Things that cause fluid loss, like drinking alcohol the night before or coffee prior to the event, can further aggravate our cooling system.

Clothing can also help you stay cool. Cotton used to be the standard, but cotton stays wet after you sweat. Nowadays, clothing made of moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics helps keep you cooler. And don't forget to use sunblock to prevent the possibility of sunburn.
The risk of heat-related illness is extremely high in outdoor conditions. To be prepared, it's important to take every precaution, including having ice baths and towels available.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Washington State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.