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Pan Am athletes, exercise and extreme heat

With temperatures rising, Environment Canada issued its first heat warning of the summer for Southern Ontario this past weekend. Athletes of the Pan Am Games were also issued a special warning, advising them to watch for signs of heat-related illness. Concerns that the athletes may not be accustomed to the humidity, or that they may be pushing themselves given the pressure of the competition, highlight the importance of the warning. In response to the heat, event organizers are expanding the size of their medical teams in order to better respond to heat-related emergencies.

Our Pan Am athletes aren't the only ones at risk during this heat. Our patients who are physically active experience increased metabolic heat production and, often, insufficient fluid replacement in response to profuse sweating. Depending on the sport, athletes may also be required to wear protective athletic gear which further impedes the ability to dissipate heat.

Talk to your patients about how they can stay active and safe. For more information, take the accredited machealth course, Health Care Workers Guide to Extreme Heat Events.