Offered by: Dawn Dycus, M.D. – Brighton Pediatrics, PC
Summertime means warm weather, and time to head outdoors! Many kids will spend time outside playing sports, either informally with friends or in a more organized team sports setting. Some helpful advice to keep kids healthy and safe while outside playing sports:
- Playing sports outdoors in the heat can result in rapid loss of body fluids, so it’s important to make sure kids stay well hydrated. Thirst is not a good gauge of fluid needs. Most school-aged children and teenagers should drink about 8 ounces of fluid every 20-30 minutes during outdoor activity. Switch from water to sports drinks after 1 hour of play. Coaches and parents should make sure fluids are always available and encourage appropriate breaks to drink fluids.
- Sun safety is also very important. The first and best line of defense against harmful sun exposure is covering up. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective, and wearing a hat can provide helpful shade for the face. Try to limit sun exposure during peak intensity hours (between 10 AM and 4 PM). Apply an ample amount of sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to any areas not covered by clothing, and reapply every 2 hours.
- The equipment you wear while playing sports and activities can be key to preventing injuries. For example, helmets, proper footwear, eye protection, mouth guards, and elbow/knee pads are all important, depending on the type of activity.
Athletes should also have a yearly sports physical done by their regular pediatrician to ensure that they are healthy enough to play. The sports physical can be done at the same time as your regular yearly physical. Don’t wait to schedule until right before paperwork is due! Contact your office well in advance to make sure you have enough time to get the physical done. Please see www.brightonpeds.com for more information. Have a happy, healthy summer!
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