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Dealing with Heat Exhaustion

Mark A. Slabaugh, M.D., is an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon with Orthopedics and Joint Replacement at Mercy. In response to a query from Health magazine (online), Dr. Slabaugh offered insights into repercussions of heat exhaustion, given news of major league baseball pitcher and former Baltimore Oriole Dylan Bundy departing a game due to becoming sick from dehydration.

“Heat exhaustion induced vomiting typically comes from dehydration. The body is in a relative hyponatremic state from dehydration which is known to cause vomiting by delaying gastric emptying and other metabolic changes due to the body’s need for sodium. Prevention is the best key with gradual increases in your exercise routine and not exercising for prolonged times in hot weather (adjusted for humidity). If the athlete is already experiencing heat exhaustion with vomiting, then the best treatment is rest, rehydration and cooling with immediate removal from competition and rehydrating with electrolyte drinks (i.e. Gatorade, Powerade, etc.). Additionally, temperatures should be checked to ensure that there the athlete is not going into heat shock. If the temperature is rising quickly then immediate immersion in ice baths or ice packs in the groin/axilla is required with immediate transfer to the ER. Heat exhaustion is best treated as above. Additionally, avoiding alcohol and exercise together is a key to preventing heat stroke.”

--Mark Slabaugh, M.D.

Board Certified in Orthopedic Surgery and Orthopedic Sports Medicine, Dr. Mark Slabaugh specializes in arthroscopic repair of sports-related injuries and complex knee and shoulder reconstructions, including ACL/MCL tears, shoulder instability and rotator cuff tears. He serves patients and families of central Maryland, with office locations at Mercy Personal Physicians community-based facilities in Lutherville, Overlea and Reisterstown, as well as Mercy Medical Center in downtown Baltimore.

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Related Topics
  • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
  • Society of Military Orthopedic Surgeons
  • The Arthroscopy Association of North America
  • American Orthopedic Society for Sports mMedicine