Is your young athlete staying safe and healthy by getting enough to drink and supplement salt loss during summer sports and athletics? Dehydration is a big risk for youth, right up there with sprains, strains, and dislocations. Here are eight ways you can help ensure your child is staying hydrated on the court, in the field, or on the track.
- Have your child drink water before exercise: This should be at least 16-20 ounces within the two-hour period prior to exercise.
- Have your child drink water during exercise: This should be around 4-8 ounces every 15-20 minutes during exercise, depending on workout conditions, heat, and sweat rate.
- Have your child drink after exercise: Weigh before a workout, then after, and for every pound of body weight lost during exercise, have them drink 24 ounces of liquid with sodium and electrolytes)
- Do not buy sugary sports drinks unless your child’s metabolism and exercise level will allow them to consume them at the rate needed to stay hydrated.
- Always have a pitcher of water on the table at every meal, and encourage drinking a full glass before food, a glass during the meal in sips between bites, and a full glass at the end of the meal.
- For water that tastes funny to your child, try cutting up fruit and placing it in the water to help flavor it. You can also use infusers in a pitcher of water or in a water bottle.
- Buy refillable water bottles that are see through, and measure daily water intake. Offer a chart for stickers or checkmarks to help your child reach hydration goals.
- Have your young athletes carry their water bottle to school and to practice, and stock spares in your vehicle or their backpack in case they need it.
Signs of Dehydration
Be aware of the signs of dehydration, which can include stopping sweating or becoming pale and clammy. In extreme cases, the lips and tongue can become dry and bluish, Urine output can cease or slow to a dark orange trickle, eyes may appear sunken, and your child may be irritable, apathetic, lethargic, or confused and disoriented. They may even pass out due to a combination of dehydration and heat stroke. Knowing the signs of hydration can help you prevent your child from suffering these effects.
If you have concerns about your child starting sports or athletics, Dr. Strasburger can perform a complete examination and evaluation and help you learn how to help your child practice, compete, and work out safely.