CDC: Nonfatal Sports and Recreation Heat Illness Studied

Incidence highest in males and those aged 15 to 19 years; 7.1 percent hospitalized

THURSDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals who take part in unstructured sports and recreational activities, especially during the summer months, may be at an increased risk of heat illness, according to a report in the July 29 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC evaluated 2001 to 2009 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System -- All Injury Program to evaluate the incidence and characteristics of nonfatal sports and recreation heat illness among persons of all ages.

The report revealed that approximately 5,946 persons were treated in U.S. emergency departments each year for a heat illness sustained while participating in a sport or recreational activity. The data also revealed that the incidence was highest among males (72.5 percent) and among those aged 15 to 19 years (35.6 percent), with 7.1 percent of patients being hospitalized. In addition, heat illness was most frequent during the summer months, and the two most common activities leading to heat-related emergency department visits were football and exercise (e.g., walking, jogging, and calisthenics).

"These findings highlight the need for effective heat illness prevention messages to target all persons who are physically active, including those who participate in unstructured sports and recreational activities," the authors write. "Specific emphasis should be placed on targeting appropriate prevention messages toward those aged 15 to 19 years, who are at greatest risk, and their coaches and parents."

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