Every kid wants to have fun in the summer sun. But too much of it can be a bad thing. Here are the 5 warning signs of heat stress in kids.
When school's out, Maya and her mom love to exercise together. She also likes to have fun in the sun with her sisters. She says, "I like to sometimes go outside with my sisters, run around, play whatever games they want to play."
But too much summer heat can make kids sick. Maya says, "I drink a lot of water and whenever I get too hot and start seeing things, I go inside."
A good idea says Dr. Richard Lichenstein, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children. He says the first sign of heat stress in kids can be tricky to spot. “There may not be signs to begin with. So like everything else, prevention is really the key. For children who are just getting acclimated to new climates, new activities in the heat, it's real important that they stay hydrated beforehand."
That means making sure your child drinks plenty of water at least 15 minutes before going outside.
The second sign of heat exhaustion is lots of sweating. Dr. Lichenstein says, "If their clothes are sopping wet, it's time to change the clothes because they're losing a lot of heat, a lot of moisture, a lot of ability to cool themselves. And that's the time to start thinking are they hydrated enough, have they had enough fluids, can i get them dry clothes... Or better yet get them in a cooler climate."
The third sign is fatigue. Dr. Lichenstein says, "Kids love to play, love to be active and if they are even showing themselves that they are not as active as they were or seem to be not themselves... It's probably time to come in."
Children may also complain of headaches and having an upset stomach. If you notice a high fever and change in mental status, get to the hospital right away, it could be heat stroke, a life threatening condition.
And remember, kids and adults are a lot different in the summer heat. Dr. Lichenstein says, "For our body shapes and sizes, we can stay out in the heat a lot longer than these little kids who lose these fluids rapidly, evaporate very rapidly and just don't have the reserves to replenish themselves."
If you notice signs of heat stress in your child, go inside in the A/C or find shade. Taking a bath in cool water can also help.
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