How to avoid heatstrokes on the field

June 21, 2020

It’s so far been an exceptionally hot summer and sports enthusiasts are struggling to cope with it.Our experts have some suggestions.

In this week’s column, our panel of experts answers queries from our readers on a variety of issues ranging from Covid-19 to arthritis.

Q: I’m into outdoor sports and suffered a minor heatstroke recently while on a 5-mile run. What sort of precautions should I take to avoid it in the future? —Amjad Ali

A: Dear reader, here are a few suggestions for you to prevent heatstroke:

The key is to stay hydrated! Make it a habit to drink an adequate amount of a salt containing beverage before and after your outdoor activity in order to replenish your losses.

Plan ahead of time and drink plenty of water throughout your day, however, avoid drinking chilled liquids as they may cause stomach cramps.

Consume small and more of cold meals such as salads, fresh fruit, and raw vegetables.

Avoid wearing dark colored clothes as dark colors tend to absorb more heat. Instead wear light-colored, light-weight, and loose-fit clothing made of natural fiber like cotton.

Wear a sun-block of SPF 30 or higher to avoid sunburn which is a common heat-related injury.

Slowly and gradually get acclimated to performing under the sun and thereby escalate your practice duration and intensity accordingly.

If possible, try avoiding the hottest time of the day. Take frequent small breaks, and rest in a shaded area.

It is imperative that you watch out for signs of dehydration, and seek immediate help if any warning sign (e.g. confusion, irritability, headache, dry mouth, dizziness etc.) appears.

Dr. Samar Abbas Jaffri

MBBS, MRCP (UK), MRCP(LON), MRCPS (Glasg),

FCPS (Medicine), FRCP (Edin)

Assistant Professor & Consultant Physician,

Department of Medicine,

Liaquat National Hospital & Medical College

Q: I’m avid sportsman and participate in various activities like cycling and tennis. Two weeks ago I tested positive for COVID-19. I had mild symptoms but feeling fine now. When can I resume my sports activities? –Rao Shabbir

A: According to the CDC and WHO revised guidelines, now there is no need to repeat COVID-19 PCR test for de-isolation. If your symptoms started 10 days back and now you are without any symptoms from last three days without any medication. You can de-isolate yourself. You can take part in sports with certain precautions like social distancing, wear face mask, hand hygiene and no hangout after game.

Dr. Sadia Aamir

MBBS, FCPS (Med), FCPS (ID)

Head of Department, Assistant Professor | Department of Infectious Disease

Liaquat National Hospital & Medical College

Q: I have mild rheumatic arthritis. I play golf and occasionally get pain in some of my joints like back and elbows. What should I do to overcome it? I’m 48 years old. —Taqi Jabbar Shah

A: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Your body’s immune cells effects the synovial lining of small joints; in your case it is small joint of back and hands.

You can do multiple treatment options for these pain. Firstly, I suggest you visit a rheumatologist who will prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy and life style modifications.

If your pain is significant then disease modifying anti rheumatic drugs can also be started if required by rheumatologist.

For now at home you can take some over the counter pain medications and physiotherapy but I believe you should visit a specialist as well.

Dr. Saad Akhtar Khan

MBBS, FCPS, FEBNS

Assistant Professor & Consultant | Department of Spinal and Neurosurgery

Liaquat National Hospital & Medical College

Q: I am an avid runner but for the last few days I get a bit dizzy after completing my run. Need your advice. I’m 35 years old. —Sufi Muhammad Ibrahim

A: These days, with the ambient temperatures high, a person tends to lose a lot of body water through perspiration. The fact that you exercise regularly makes you more prone to water loss through excessive sweating. This leads to a fall in blood pressure in the standing position, a phenomenon known as postural hypotension. This can be effectively countered by increasing your fluid intake. This can include lassi, tang, fruit juices, lemonade, etc. All these will restore your fluid losses and electrolytes and ameliorate your symptoms.

Dr. Naveed Uddin Ahmed

FCPS (Medicine & Neurology)

Assistant Professor | Department of Neurology

Liaquat National Hospital & Medical College

All the specialists on our experts’ panel are associated with Liaquat National Hospital. Please send your queries at [email protected] or [email protected])

–Khalid Hussain

How to avoid heatstrokes on the field