Dehydration and the Young Athlete

Dehydration and the Young Athlete

As we start to get into the spring and summer months more young athletes take to the field, track or just enjoy being outside. In the rush to enjoy the weather, staying hydrated becomes the biggest factor in preventing heat related illnesses. While transitioning into summer outdoor activities, it may take about two weeks to acclimate to intense practice in hot weather. To help with acclimation, wearing lightweight, light colored clothing and hydrating before during and after the activity are easy ways to reduce risk. The symptoms of dehydration can be irritability, thirst, lightheaded, dizziness, cramps and excessive fatigue. Make sure your child informs you if they are experiencing any of these symptoms. Also let them know it is okay and very important to let their coaches know as well. If your child loses consciousness or you note confusion go the ER immediately.

An important tool to determine heat safety is the Wet Bulb Temperature number. This number allows parents and coaches determine when the combination of temperature, humidity and radiant heat would make practicing dangerous or when increase breaks are needed. The Wet Bulb number can be determined by doing an internet search for it and following the wet bulb suggestions accordingly.

So, exactly how much water should one drink to help avoid heat related illness and dehydration. According to guidelines from Lutheran Hospital, it is recommended that before hot weather activities drink 4 to 8 ounces of water one to two hours before activity, followed by drinking another 4 to 8 ounces of water 10-15 minutes before activity. During the sporting event drink 5 to 9 ounces of water or sports drink every 15-20 minutes. After the activity, drink at least 24 ounces of water or sports drink for every pound of weight lost within two hours after completion of activity. So, with just a little prevention summer can be one of the most fun and safe times of year.

1. ?Dehydration and Youth Sports: Curb Your Risk.? Mayo Clinic (

2. ?Hydration Tips for Young Athletes.? Lutheran Hospital. (

In health,
Dr. Meghan Magner, DC

Dr. Magner is a doctor of chiropractic and an associate doctor at Sport and Spine Rehab of McLean. She may be contacted at

Sport and Spine Rehab companies provides chiropractic, physical therapy, and rehab services at seven locations in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Services include Graston Technique, Kinesio Taping Method, and Funhab? which is Sport and Spine Rehab?s own trademarked research-based functional rehab protocols.

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