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Heat Illness Strikes Male, Teen Athletes Harder

Researchers have found that males and teens are most likely to require a trip to the emergency department for a heat illness related to sports or another recreational activity.

From 2001 to 2009, males accounted for nearly three-quarters (72.5%) of emergency department visits for heat illness following such physical activity, according to Ellen Yard, PhD, an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the CDC, and colleagues.

Those most affected were 15- to 19-year-olds, who accounted for 35.6% of visits, the researchers reported in the July 29 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"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," they wrote.

"Specific emphasis should be placed on targeting appropriate prevention messages toward those ages 15 to 19 years, who are at greatest risk, and their coaches and parents."

Although heat illness has been shown to be a leading cause of death and disability among athletes at the high school and college level, the burden of heat illness related to participation in unstructured sports or recreational activities in other age groups is not known, according to the researchers.

Source: MedPage Today