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Heat Stroke Victims Should be Cooled Down First

Update Date: Jun 28, 2014 11:23 AM EDT
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With summer approaching, people need to remember to stay hydrated. In a new study, researchers examined the best ways of dealing with heat stroke patients, particularly athletes who are exposed to high temperatures frequently. The team from the National Athletic Trainer's Association (NATA) reported that patients benefit from cooling down first before being transported.

"We're trying to get people to realize that's how you save people's lives from heat stroke," said Douglas Casa, director of athletic training education at the University of Connecticut reported by Medical Xpress. "That's a paradigm shift in medicine. Heat stroke is the only medical condition that you can think of where we're telling people to treat the person first on site before you transfer them to the hospital."

A heat stroke occurs when the body's temperature increases to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of a heat stroke include a headache, nausea or vomiting. Often times, heat stroke victims wait for an ambulance to arrive without cooling down. In this study, the researchers from the University of Connecticut examined the effects of hand cooling gloves that are made with a vacuum pump that brings blood to the surface of the skin. The gloves also have cool water circulating through it to cool the body down.

The researchers gave some of the athletes a cooling glove while other acted as the control group. The team found that the athletes who used the cooling glove during breaks had lower body core temperatures than men who did not cool down. A total of 13 healthy male athletes in their 20s participated in this study.

"We saw a whole degree Fahrenheit of difference between the hand-cooling with fluid group and the control group," said lead researcher Michael Sundeen, who is now an assistant athletic trainer for the Denver Broncos. "That's pretty significant in the realm of performance,"

In the new guidelines, the experts are recommending school coaches to start preseason workouts slowly. Coaches must also allow students to take more water breaks in order to keep their core body temperatures low. The guidelines were presented at the NATA annual meeting in Indianapolis.

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