Lakeview Regional Medical Center, a campus of Tulane Medical Center, announced that it is the Official Hydration Sponsor for all home games at St. Paul’s School, this year. As a sponsor for hydration, Lakeview Regional physicians remind parents that kids can become easily dehydrated whenever they play sports, regardless of season, temperature, or relative humidity. “It is our job as medical professionals to educate our community on the dangers of dehydration that can occur at any time of the year,” states Dr. Chad Muntan, Director of Lakeview Regional's Emergency Department. “Serious dehydration can put a person at increased risk of heat-related illnesses, which can lead to more serious conditions.”
Dehydration in athletes can cause fatigue, a significant decrease in muscular strength, loss of stamina and coordination, and muscle cramping. It can affect cognition, decreasing a child's ability to pay attention to the coach, or remember a play. As a child becomes dehydrated, heart rate increases, blood flow to the skin decreases, and a body temperature can rise steadily to dangerous levels. The human body contains more water than anything else--about 60 percent of total body weight. Water helps regulate body temperature, transports nutrients, and helps remove waste. Every day, water is lost when someone breathes, sweats, urinates, and defecates, and that water needs to be replenished. When a person gets dehydrated, it means the amount of water in the body has dropped below the level needed for normal body function
If a child tires easily and repeatedly during practices, and appears irritable, or his/her performance suddenly declines, dehydration may be the cause. Common signs of dehydration include thirstiness, headache, dizziness, fatigue, and/or feeling weak. Also, urine is bright yellow in color. The person may exhibit apathy or lack of energy, grumpiness, trouble concentrating, or nausea. Symptoms of severe dehydration can include dry lips and tongue, sunken eyes, urine with a strong odor, infrequent urination, and a small volume of urine output. Parents and coaches can avoid a potentially life-threatening medical emergency by being familiar with these symptoms, and how to prevent them.
Prevention is simple, when it comes to dehydration. Athletes should drink eight to 20 ounces of fluid (water or sports drinks) an hour, prior to exercise. During sports, every 15 to 20 minutes, drink four to six ounces of water or sports drinks, up to 24 ounces per hour. After sports, post-exercise hydration should aim to correct any fluid lost during play as soon as possible, by drinking 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost through sweat.