Capital Area Pickleball Association
Serving Dane County Wisconsin

Preventing and Recognizing the Warning Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses When Playing Pickleball This Summer

20 May 2024 9:20 AM | Abigail Darwin

As the temperature rises, so does the risk of experiencing heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Recognizing the warning signs and understanding the differences between these conditions can help keep you safe and healthy when playing pickleball this summer.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body overheats, often due to strenuous activity – like pickleball -- in hot, humid weather. Symptoms include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Fatigue, weakness, or dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can escalate to heat stroke, so it is essential to seek shade, rest, loosen your clothing, and hydrate immediately, when you first experience symptoms. Get medical help right away if you are throwing up, your symptoms worsen, or your symptoms last longer than one hour.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is more severe and occurs when the body's temperature rises to 104°F or higher. It can cause damage to the brain, kidneys, and muscles. Warning signs include:

  • High body temperature
  • Slurred speech
  • Hot, dry, damp, or red skin
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Confusion, agitation, altered mental state, or unconsciousness
  • Seizures

Heat stroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention, so call 911 if you suspect that you or someone else is suffering from this life-threatening condition! In addition, move the person to a cool place, and help lower their body temperature by putting cool cloths or ice on them. Do NOT give the person anything to drink unless they are fully awake and alert and sitting completely upright. Otherwise, doing so could cause them to choke and aspirate.

Prevention is Key

To avoid heat-related illnesses, on hot, humid days, be sure to stay hydrated, wear light-colored and breathable clothing, and take breaks in cool, shaded areas. Additionally, never leave children or pets in hot cars while you are playing.


Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and taking steps to prevent them can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying a safe and healthy summer.

Happy pickling!

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