Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 355–365 | Cite as

Heat-related illness in sports and exercise

  • Andrew W. NicholsEmail author
Field Management of Sports Injuries (J Kinderknecht, Section Editor)


Exertional heat-related illness (EHRI) is comprised of several states that afflict physically active persons when exercising during conditions of high environmental heat stress. Certain forms of EHRI may become life threatening if not treated. Exertional heat stroke (EHS), characterized by a core body temperature of >40 ° C and mental status changes, is the most severe form of EHRI. EHS must be treated immediately with rapid body cooling to reduce morbidity and mortality. Many EHRI cases are preventable by following heat acclimatization guidelines, modifying sports and exercise sessions during conditions of high environmental heat stress, maintaining adequate hydration, avoiding exertion in the heat when ill, and by educating sports medicine personnel, coaches, parents, and athletes on the early recognition and prevention of EHRI. Heat exhaustion, exercise-associated collapse, exercise-associated muscle cramps, exercise-associated hyponatremia, and exertional rhabdomyolysis are also described.


Heat illness Heat injury Athletic heat injury Exertional heat illness Exertional heat stroke Heat stroke Heat exhaustion Muscle cramps Exertional hyponatremia Exertional rhabdomyolysis 


Compliance with ethics guidelines

Conflict of interest

Andrew Nichols declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and informed consent

No human or animal studies performed by the authors. This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Family Medicine and Community Health, John A. Burns School of MedicineUniversity of Hawaii at Mānoa, University Health Services MānoaHonoluluUSA

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