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House Calls: Preventing heat cramps

Q: My child had heat cramps while playing soccer last summer. How can I prevent them this summer?

A: Heat cramps are caused by a loss of body fluids and salt. The best way to prevent them is to make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids before, during and after a game or practice. Water isn’t the best way to replace fluids lost in kids. Research has proven that flavored sports drinks do a better job of increasing the amount of fluid your child takes in. You’ll also want to teach your child the signs and symptoms of dehydration—dry mouth, thirst, headache, dizziness, fatigue or irritability—and to speak up if these occur so the coach can take him or her out of the game or reduce the practice’s intensity.