With the heat index expected to top 100 degrees this weekend, athletes will be closely monitored as organizers of local races and tournaments adjust for soaring temperatures.
Public health officials advise decreasing physical activity during extreme heat or limiting it to morning and early evening, especially for joggers and high school or junior high school athletic teams. But a packed calendar of sporting events makes that difficult for local athletes.
An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for Montgomery County through 8 p.m. Saturday, and the rest of the Miami Valley is under a Heat Advisory.
Saturday’s forecast calls for highs in the low 90s with heat index values above 100. Skies will be mostly sunny much of the day with a slight chance for a pop-up storm in afternoon or evening, according to StormCenter7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell.
Sunday’s temperatures will be similar with scattered storms possible late in the day.
“It is important to remember to be proactive when it comes to staying safe during the heat,” StormCenter7 meteorologist Carrieann Marit said. “Typically by the time your body is feeling the effects of the heat, it’s too late to make changes.”
Staying hydrated all day, leading up to and after an event and taking frequent breaks is key, she said.
The boys portion of the Northmont Good Samaritan Soccer Classic, a high school preseason tournament, is being held this weekend at the Hoke Road Soccer Complex and Northmont High School.
Games start at 7:15 a.m. and go until about 7 p.m. each day.
Organizers have posted updates on the tournament website addressing the heat.
Each game will have a mandatory water break during each half, which are 40 minutes long but may be shortened if safety in the heat becomes an issue, said Dave Carmean, tournament director.
“If it gets really bad we’ll do every 10 minutes,” he said of the breaks.
“Each field will have a tent and ice-cold water jugs available to the teams for their use during games. The training staff will be set up for any and all heat issues that may arise,” organizers said. That will include cooling tubs and misting stations, Carmean said.
The Dayton Dragons/Subway 5K is at 9 a.m. Saturday at Fifth Third Field.
Organizers said the city’s “Bring Back the Tap” water truck will be on hand pre- and post-race. There will be a water stop at the halfway mark with 3,000 cups of water available. Medical staff will be stationed along the route, according to Brandy Guinaugh, vice president of sponsor services for the Dragons.
Athletes of all ages need to remember they will have a decreased tolerance for exercise with the heat and humidity unless they’ve trained in those conditions, said Lora Scott, director of sports medicine at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
“It takes 40 hours of exercising in this heat to fully adjust,” she said.
Anyone working out in extreme heat for more than an hour needs to think about replacing salt in addition to water, Scott said. That can be done through sports drinks or food.
Coaches and parents need to watch for altered behavior and be able to cool down an overheated athlete quickly.
The fastest way to do that is putting them in a tub of cold water up to their neck, Scott said. Ice packs on the neck, groin and armpits also works.
Surviving a heat emergency depends on how quickly the person is cooled and the first 30 minutes are critical, she said.
If possible, those exercising outdoors should adjust their schedule this weekend, according to David Garcia, manager of the injury prevention program at Miami Valley Hospital.
Those who like to jog or are planning to mow their lawn should do so in the morning or in the evening to avoid the midday when the “sun’s at its highest point and it’s the most unbearable,” he said.
Garcia said the hospital is prepared this weekend to treat more heat-related illnesses.
The body starts shutting down once it hits 105 degrees, at which point there could be brain damage, blindness or death, he said.
Those exerting themselves in extreme heat need to remember that the body’s temperature will remain elevated for up to 24 hours, Scott said.
So athletes competing in multiple games during a tournament need to realize they may be starting the later games with a body temp above the normal 98 degrees and need to be extra cautious to stay cool and hydrated.
The same rules apply for animals who should be exercised only early in the morning or in the evening on hot days, and get plenty of water and shade, according to the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.
Pets shouldn’t be left in vehicles, out in the sun or in garages for too long in the heat, the Humane Society said.
Dr. Nathan Dicke, a veterinarian at Northmont Animal Clinic, said the signs of heat stroke in animals are excessive panting, exhaustion, lethargy, collapse and seizures.
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