Heat Stroke & Exhaustion in Children: Signs & Symptoms

children at the playground

When the temperature outside rises, so does the risk of heat-related illness in children. Heat stroke and exhaustion are two of the most severe forms of heat-related disease and can occur when a child’s body temperature becomes too high.

As a parent or guardian, you must be familiar with these things. Here is a guide on what you must know about pediatric urgent care related to heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

What Is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is a condition that can occur when you are exposed to high temperatures, mainly if you are not used to the heat. There are two types of heat exhaustion: water depletion and salt depletion. Water depletion occurs when you lose too much water through sweating and don’t drink enough fluids to replace what you’ve lost. Salt depletion occurs when you lose too much salt through sweating and don’t consume enough salt to replace what you’ve lost.

What Are the Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion in Children?

When the weather is hot, it’s essential to be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion in children. This condition can occur when a child’s body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

If your child displays any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to take action immediately. Remove them from the heat and have them drink plenty of fluids. You can also place a cool, damp cloth on their forehead and neck.

What Is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke is a potentially life-threatening condition when the body’s temperature rises to a level where it can no longer cool itself. The body’s temperature may rise so high that it damages the brain or other vital organs.

Heat stroke is most often caused by exposure to high temperatures, but it can also occur after strenuous physical activity. People at risk for heat stroke include the elderly, young children, and people with certain medical conditions.

What Are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Children?

Children are especially at risk for heat stroke because their bodies are not yet able to regulate their temperatures as effectively as adults. They also play outside more often during the summer, when the risk of heat stroke is highest.

Symptoms of heat stroke in children include:

  • A body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (without sweating)
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness or headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion or irritability

If you suspect your child has heat stroke, it is important to act quickly and get them to a cool place. Remove any excess clothing and apply cool, wet towels to their skin. You can also give them small sips of water or sports drinks.

How Can You Prevent Heat Illnesses in Children?

There are several ways to prevent heat illness in children. The CDC recommends that parents and caregivers:

  • Dress children in loose, light-colored clothing.
  • Encourage children to drink plenty of fluids, including water and fruit juice.
  • Limit outdoor activity to cooler hours of the day.
  • Make sure children take breaks often to rest and cool down.
  • Monitor children closely for signs of heat illness.

Final Thoughts

It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and exhaustion in children. These conditions can be life-threatening, so you must seek medical attention immediately if you suspect your child suffers from either condition. 

If you need urgent care for kids in Orlando, FL, contact us at Your Kids Urgent Care today. We commit to providing superior care to every child, ensuring they receive the best treatment possible. Give us a call today or drop by any of our locations if your child requires immediate medical attention.

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