Monday, August 4, 2014


With marching band upon us, it is important to monitor your group carefully for effects of heat and dehydration. Here are some facts that will help as you navigate through the high temps in the next couple of months.

Risk Factors

  • Individual who work in conditions of extreme heat

  • Decreased fluid intake

  • Individuals who are unable to properly cool their bodies

  • Individuals with current or recent illnesses

  • Excessive caffeine

  • Overweight and obese individuals

Heat Cramps
Heat cramps are painful involuntary muscle spasms caused by excessive water and electrolyte loss. They are the least severe of all the disorders. Cramps are the first sign that the body is having difficulty regulating the body temperature. If not treated, heat cramps could lead to a more serious problem. It occurs more often in the legs and abdomen than any other area in the body. Typically rest and fluids are all that is needed at this stage to recover.


  • Place the individual in a cool shaded area

  • Give cool water or commercial sport drink

  • Stretch the affected area

  • Once the cramps stop, the person is typically okay to return to their regular activities if there are no other signs of illness

Heat Exhaustion
A person who is experiencing heat exhaustion will exhibit cool, moist, and pale skin. They may complain of headaches and nausea with overall weakness and exhaustion. Dizziness, fainting, and mental confusion are often present as well. A rapid and weak pulse is also typical of a person experiencing heat exhaustion. Breathing may become fast and shallow and blood pressure begins to lower.


  • If the above symptoms are present, STOP all physical activity and move to shade immediately

  • Lay the person flat with their feet slightly elevated and loosen any tight clothing

  • Give cool water or sports drink

  • Place an ice pack or cold cloth behind the neck

  • Rest and replacement of fluids is usually all that is needed to recover

Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is caused by the overexposure to extreme heat. Heat stroke is generally classified as having at least a 104 degree temperature, sometimes up to 106 which is very dangerous for the human body. Additional symptoms include mental confusion, staggering, and faintness. The pulse becomes strong and rapid (as much as 160-180 beats per minute) with skin being dry and flushed looking. The person shows little to no perspiration and can quickly lose consciousness or have convulsions. Heat stroke is a life threatening medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention!


  • Seek emergency medical personnel and begin first aid treatments immediately

Mary Ann French
Palen Music Center Broken Arrow
(817) 201-6317 mobile
(918) 286-1555 store
[email protected]

Mary Ann French graduated from Arkansas Tech with a music education degree and has been active in music education for many years. She has taught in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, and Texas. Fifteen of her years were spent with the Pride of Owasso in Owasso, Oklahoma. Mary Ann is an active clinician with bands as well as flute students.