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Expert Alert

Preventing heat stroke as the mercury rises

July 18, 2011

July’s simmering temperatures and heavy humidity have kept many recreational athletes and long-distance runners at risk for heat stroke. A University of Minnesota expert who can speak on how to enjoy summer sports and recreational activities while preventing the dangers of heat stroke is:

Bill Roberts, University of Minnesota Physician sports medicine doctor and professor in the Medical School

Heat stroke occurs when the body produces more heat than it can remove; in essence, the body overheats from the inside.

When this happens, nutrients aren’t pumped effectively through the body. The heart gets overheated and can’t pump as well, toxins leak from the gut into the blood stream and the liver doesn’t have the capacity to get rid of them. With this multi-system failure, the brain also doesn’t think as clearly, so many people may not realize they are suffering from heat stroke until after they collapse.

According to Roberts, there are a number of ways to help prevent heat stroke. This includes staying well hydrated and making sure one’s body is acclimated to the heat prior to the tournament. Roberts also said that adopting a buddy system during workouts may also help prevent heat stroke.

“When it gets hot out, buddy-up and have a friend go with you on workouts,” he says. “Brain function is one of the first things to go when suffering from heat stroke; you may think you’re okay but in reality you aren’t. So keep an eye out for each other and take extra water breaks.”

Roberts is available for media interviews Monday, July 18, from noon to 3 p.m. and Tuesday, July 19, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. To schedule an interview, contact Emily Jensen, Academic Health Center, (612) 624-9163, jense888@umn.edu; Kelly O’Connor, Academic Health Center, (612) 624-5680, oconn246@umn.edu; or Jeff Falk, University News Service, (612) 626-1720, jfalk@umn.edu.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit www.umn.edu/news. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

Tags: Academic Health Center

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