The summer is heating up, and with many children home from school and playing outdoors, it’s important to know the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion in kids, as well as how to treat it. Here’s some helpful information from the pediatricians at Woodburn to help keep your kids cool this summer.
Disclaimer: The information below is for educational purposes. If you believe you, or someone else, is experiencing a heat stroke, seek immediate medical attention. Untreated heatstroke can induce unconsciousness, organ failure, or even death.
What is Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke is a severe illness that occurs when your body temperature rises so high that it cannot keep up with ordinary cooling mechanisms. While our bodies naturally fight against heat stroke and heat exhaustion by sweating, kids are at an increased risk because their bodies have fewer sweat glands. Because of their size, they can sweat out more of their body water in a shorter amount of time. Plus, they’re less likely to take precautions and heed their body’s signals that they’re overheating.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke & Heat Exhaustion in Kids
Feeling dizzy, developing a headache, or becoming suddenly tired can be the result of heat exhaustion. More serious heat stroke symptoms include acting disoriented, agitated, or confused, having skin that’s hot, flushed, and not sweaty, or seizing. If your child is experiencing multiple or serious symptoms, they may be suffering from heat stroke.
Tips for Preventing and Treating Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke in Kids
The best way to prevent heat stroke is by making sure your child is well-hydrated and cool. Be sure to encourage frequent water breaks, which should be taken indoors or in the shade. You might also consider drinks with electrolytes like Gatorade or Pedialyte during extended play on hot days.
If your child is exhibiting mild heat exhaustion symptoms, you should take them a cool place, remove any unnecessary clothing, fan warm air over them and wet their skin with lukewarm water. If they become confused, lose consciousness, have trouble breathing, or have a rapid pulse, you should seek immediate emergency help, as heat stroke can be incredibly dangerous and even fatal.
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