Who's most at risk?

Extra precautions should be taken with children and teens at increased risk of suffering a heat-related illness. This includes athletes who:

  • Aren't used to exercising in a hot environment
  • Are recovering from a recent illness, especially one involving vomiting, diarrhea and/or fever
  • Take medications such as diuretics, ADHD medicines, anticholinergics and caffeine
  • Have history of heat-related illness

Heat cramp

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of energy

What to do

  • Have athlete stop and drink water or a sports drink
  • Resume activities only when symptoms are gone

Heat exhaustion

  • Dizziness
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills
  • Loss of coordination

What to do

  • Stop activity and give athlete water or a sports drink
  • Seek medical attention

Heat stroke

  • Confusion
  • Irrational behavior
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dangerously high temperature (104 degrees F and above)

What to do

Call 911 immediately as this is a life-threatening emergency.


  • Schedule workouts during the cooler times of the day.
  • Give children and teens who are out of shape or not used to the heat time to adjust.
  • Schedule water and rest breaks every 30 minutes. Require athletes to drink fluids.
  • Have shade, ice and a kiddie pool available for emergency treatment and rapid cooling.


It's important to have children drink fluids until they're no longer thirsty—plus another 8 ounces—30 minutes before a sports activity. They should also drink every 20 minutes while playing.

Water is best for short activities. If activities last more than an hour, children can drink a fluid with sugar and electrolytes like Gatorade or Powerade.

Don’t give children fruit juice or soda because these contain too much sugar and can cause cramping. Avoid carbonated beverages­—these can cause bloating—and caffeinated beverages—these can speed up metabolism, generating more heat.