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Deadly heat strokes are easily prevented



DEAR DR. DONOHUE: This summer I am running a basketball camp for teenagers. I have not done this kind of work before, and I am a bit leery on a number of issues. One that bothers me is heat injuries. Could you supply some guidelines that I could follow? — R.W.

ANSWER: Heat-caused injuries rank third as the cause of death in highschool athletes. That might sound overblown, but it’s true. There are not that many sports-related highschool deaths, so that’s one reason heat deaths are ranked so high. One such death is one too many, as heat-related deaths are preventable.

It takes up to 10 days to fully acclimatize to heat. You should assume your campers are not acclimatized. Have them take it very easy in the first few days. Practice sessions on days one to three should be held in the early-morning hours, should be limited to three hours and should not be all that strenuous.

Be sure that water is accessible at all times. In more extended practices, have sports drinks that contain sodium and potassium also available.

If you can obtain the wetbulb temperature index, use it. It was devised by the United States Marines and takes into account temperature, humidity and wind speed. At wet bulb indexes of 90 and greater, practices should be suspended. If you cannot obtain this information, there are many charts readily attainable that correlate temperature with humidity and indicate when physical exertion is dangerous.


xertional heatstroke is

the most serious heat injury. Affected boys or girls might be sweating profusely or have dry skin. They’re weak, dizzy and often complain of headache. Body temperature is 104 F (40 C) or higher. This is an emergency and, if you don’t have the facilities to handle it, make advance arrangements for quick transportation to a hospital.

The child should be taken to a cool place, and all constrictive clothing should be removed. He or she should be covered with wet sheets or sprayed with cold water and be exposed to fans. In the best of circumstances, the child should be put in a tub of cool water. Mental changes are one of the hallmarks of heatstroke. If the child isn’t able to drink fluids, intravenous fluids should be administered.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have a plantar wart. What do I do for it? — C.R.

ANSWER: A plantar wart is wart on the bottom of the foot (the planta). It’s the work of a virus from the same virus family that causes all warts.

Try one of the proprietary remedies found in all drugstores: DuoFilm, Trandermal patch, Mediplast, Sal-Acid and Compound W. They contain salicylic acid, a fairly reliable wart remover.

Or you might want to try the duct-tape remedy. Cover the wart with duct tape and leave the tape on for six days. Remove it and soak the foot in warm water to soften the wart. Then file the wart gently with a pumice stone or emery board, both drugstore items. Repeat the sequence until the wart is gone.

Are you certain this is a wart? If you’re not, get a doctor’s opinion.

Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

©2009 North America Synd.

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