Students can acclimate before hitting sports camps

Author: Rachel McNeill, Anchor/Medical Expert, rmcneill@kprc.com
Published On: Aug 30 2012 03:35:11 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 09 2012 12:14:03 PM CDT
HOUSTON -

After a long summer break, it's time to get back in action and for many kids, that means sports camps.

Dr. Debra Cutler, a pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic told Local 2, "Most kids, if they haven't been out all summer, they're inside playing on Xbox or doing other inside activities." So now they'll need to get acclimated to the heat.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Anup Shah explained, "It's really the body's process of elevating its core temperature quickly and early so that we can lose sweat a lot faster and in greater quantities."

A teen's circulatory system tends to heat up quickly and cool down slowly and that's even harder for bigger kids. Building up tolerance just takes time.

Dr. Shah added, "Most athletes will take about 10 to 14 days to get used to the heat outside. I think another important point is to start off with low-intensity workouts initially and build up to high-intensity workouts."

Dr. Cutler also recommends always hydrating.

She said, "They need to make sure that they drink lots of fluid before they go out and have breaks every 15 minutes. So they're stopping and drinking and staying hydrated to avoid the problems of dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke."

Signs of heat exhaustion include excessive thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue and muscle cramps.

When it progresses to heat stroke, you may feel disoriented, confused, nauseous, experience vomiting and severe muscle cramps.

Sports injuries are also on the rise as kids head back to school --sprains, cuts, bruises or worse.

Dr. Shah said, "We tend to see some ligament injuries in the knees, some MCL or ACL tears. We also see meniscus tears. Then the shoulder, we'll typically see shoulder dislocations and separations."

To prevent injury, doctors recommend good stretching and strengthening exercises.

Early morning and evening practices can also help beat the heat.

Other sports injuries can include concussions and blunt trauma to the abdomen or chest.

Doctors say it's important to pay close attention to the child's pain level. Lingering pain, numbness, tingling or loss of motion most likely warrant a trip to the emergency room.