With record setting temperatures this summer, heat exhaustion is a big issue for kids. Many do not realize that children are more susceptible to heat exhaustion than adults. Young children’s bodies are not as adapted as older people’s bodies to regulate hear. So with all the summer time fun, parents need to be more summer time smart.
What is Heat Exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. It can range in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion to potentially life-threatening heatstroke.
The human body needs to regulate its core temperature, which is an average of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius. Core temperature is affected by the environment. As it gets hot, your body’s cooling mechanisms kick in to regulate your core temperature. Heat exhaustion can result is there are problems with your body’s methods of cooling. In cases of heat exhaustion, a person’s internal temperature can get 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Strenuous activity can drain the bodies reserves of fluid. Exertion in hot or humid weather can impact how the body effectively cools itself.
Signs and Symptoms
When your child is enjoying the summer weather, look for what’s normal and what’s not normal. That’s how you can identify problems such as heat exhaustion.
If you child is sweating then their body is working hard to regulate their temperature. However, if you see excessive sweating, extreme thirst or your child is having a hard time breathing. You may want to monitor the situation. If the signs progress to muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, headache or weakness, your child may be suffering from the early stages of heat exhaustion.
The key to treating and preventing heat exhaustion relates to keeping the body properly hydrated and cool. If your kid starts to show signs of heat exhaustion, move them to a cooler location. Shaded areas or inside will be the best choices. Offer your child lots of water or electrolyte rich drinks. Be carefully not to cool the person too quickly by using ice packs and air conditioning, If there symptoms are more serious, such as fainting, stroke, or coma, call your child’s pediatrician and take them to the nearest hospital.
Hot weather can be dangerous to a you and your child. Exposure to extreme weather puts your little one more at risk for serious problems, including heat exhaustion. Taking precautions to dress appropriately, keeping your properly hydrated, and not be out in weather for long periods of time are little things that can help keep you safe and healthy this summer.