Triathletes experience a range of environmental conditions that can affect their physiological demands, thus a broad range of possible medical problems and complications can be taken during races. Triathletes engage in an Olympic distance that takes 2 to 4 hours to complete, a swimming course of 1500 meters, a 40-kilometer cycling leg and a 10-kilometer running leg.


The swim takes place in freshwater lake or river, this may be the shortest course in the race but medical problems can still arise.

  • Hypothermia

The core temperature is below 35 degrees Celsius, heat production stops and core temperature drops rapidly. Fatal cardiac arrhythmias and unconsciousness may occur. Wetsuits are used by the triathletes to reduce heat loss.

  • Traumatic Injuries

Injuries to the face and limbs can result, to minimize such incidents, swimmers are advised to wear bright caps to prevent unintended collisions.

  • Bacterial Infection

Leptospirosis and schistosomiasis can be contracted by triathletes in freshwater lake or river.


  • Hyperthermia

The core temperature increases rapidly during long distance events, ice packs or water-soaked towels applied to the neck, groin, and axilla are managements that can help neutralize the body temperature.

  • Traumatic Injuries

The use of protective clothing are highly encouraged and to abide local traffic laws to prevent collisions and prevent a wide range of injury.


A number of triathletes withdraw during this course, musculoskeletal injuries to the lower back limbs are suffered.

  • Dehydration

Fluid stations are recommended every 2 kilometers along the course, cold water, a mixture of water, glucose, and electrolytes are being provided. If the fluids are not adequately replaced, the symptoms will rapidly develop.

  • Hyponatremia

Sodium concentration in the body is normally between 135 to 145 mmol/L, sodium is lost through sweat and may be exaggerated by too much water consumption. Isotonic and hypertonic fluids are the recommended management for hyponatremia.

  • UV Light Exposure

With the combination of high temperatures and long exposure under the sun results to sunburn. The use of water-resistant sunblocks with SPF 25+ is recommended.

  • Gastrointestinal Distress

Nausea, epigastric pain, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain are being experienced by triathletes.


To reduce risk associated with these medical conditions, weather and water conditions, effective swim, cycle and run course organization and management should be taken into account. Despite the medical concerns, triathlete participants seize to exist, triathlon appears to be safe for all ages, assuming that high-risk adults have undergone health screening before the said race.

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