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Keep it Cool

Summer is upon us and that means hot, hot, and HOT! We’ve all heard the warnings about heat exhaustion and heat stroke, but what about our children? 

As adults we know when we begin to feel the effects of the heat so we take precautions. Children on the other hand have an insatiable need to be active. They may slow down but for the most part, no matter how hot they feel, they will continue to play until extreme heat exhaustion or even heat stroke hits.

Parents need to be proactive during these summer months. Make sure they’re taking time out of their busy day to cool off. Being outside or under the sun isn’t the only factor in heat exhaustion; they can play inside and still be affected by the heat.

(HEAT + EXERTION) + (-WATER + -FOOD) = HEAT EXHAUSTION

Most kids don’t want to take the time to stop and cool off so make cooling off fun!

  • Offer to spray them with a hose
  • Have them sit down and eat an icy pop or 2
  • Place a cold wet rag on the back of their neck or on top of their head and make a game out of it.  (See who can keep it there the longest or offer a prize if they can keep it there for 5 minutes)
  • Place a cold wet rag under both of their under arms and make a game out of it. Have them color a whole coloring page without dropping the wet rags and offer a prize

Pay attention and know the signs!

Heat Exhaustion

  • increased thirst
  • weakness
  • fainting
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • irritability
  • headache
  • increase sweating
  • cool, clammy skin
  • elevation of body temperature, but less than 104°F (40°C)

What to Do:

  • Bring your child to a cooler place indoors, an air-conditioned car, or shady area.
  • Remove your child's excess clothing.
  • Encourage your child to drink cool fluids containing salt and sugar, such as sports drinks.
  • Put a cool, wet cloth or cool water on your child's skin.
  • Call your doctor for advice. If your child is too exhausted or ill to drink, treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids may be necessary.

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into heatstroke, which is a life-threatening medical emergency.

The body cannot regulate its own temperature during a heat stroke. A child’s body temperature can soar to 106°F (41.1°C) or even higher which can lead to brain damage or even death if it isn't treated promptly. Overdressing and extreme physical activity in hot weather with inadequate fluid intake are common causes of heat stroke.

Pay attention and know the signs!

Heat Stroke

  • severe headache
  • weakness, dizziness
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • loss of consciousness
  • seizure
  • no sweating
  • flushed, hot, dry skin
  • temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher

What to Do:

CALL FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES!

  • While waiting for help:
  • Get your child indoors or into the shade.
  • Undress your child and sponge or douse them with cool (not too cold) water.
  • Do not give fluids unless your child is awake, alert, and acting normally.

Summer is a time for fun so make sure your children are getting enough water, nutritious foods, rest and time away from the heat.

6 comments (Add your own)

1. Jack Kim wrote:
Great and unique advice! Many soon-to-be moms sometimes forget even if they feel fine, they still have to watch out for the baby! In these situations, it's always to err on the side of caution.

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