Heat stress in children is a serious health concern that can lead to severe illness or even death. Heat stress occurs when the body cannot cool itself sufficiently and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels.
Children are particularly susceptible to heat stress because their bodies are not yet fully developed, and they have a higher surface area to body mass ratio, which means they lose heat more quickly. Several factors can contribute to heat stress in children, including high temperatures, high humidity, physical activity, and dehydration.
Children who are obese or have chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or sickle cell disease are also at increased risk. As the weather gets warmer, parents need to be aware of the signs of heat illness in children and take some simple precautions to prevent it. Here are some helpful tips:
Encourage Kids to Warm Up
Warming up before physical activity is vital for preparing the body. A gradual increase in activity helps the body adjust to more strenuous workouts. If your child is returning to sports after minimal activity, it’s best to slowly increase the intensity of training and play over several days.
Ensure Constant Hydration
The importance of hydration for children cannot be overstated, especially when they participate in outdoor activities during the warmer months. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if they don’t feel thirsty. This will help prevent them from becoming dehydrated.
Sports drinks are trendy, but water is really all you need to keep kids hydrated. Remember that dehydration can cause serious problems, so it’s important to know the signs and how to prevent them.
Check for signs of dehydration often, especially if your child is playing or exercising outside. If you think your child is dehydrated, give them fluids right away and call a doctor if the problem persists.
Let Your Child Take Breaks
Make sure your child takes a break every 20 minutes when participating in outdoor sports or activities, especially when it is hot and humid. These conditions can cause the body to lose water through excessive sweating.
Clothe Them in Appropriate Garments
Choose materials that won’t make your child sweat more, like light colors and absorbent fabrics. This will help them stay cool and comfortable.
Invest in Sun Protection
It’s essential to wear sunscreen even when it’s not hot or sunny outside because UV rays can penetrate through clouds. If your child is playing a sport that allows them to wear a hat, that will help protect their head from the sun. To protect your child’s eyes, sunglasses are always a good idea.
Warning Signs of Heat Stress in Kids
- Flushed skin
- Increased body temperature
- Muscle cramps
- Rapid heartbeat
If any of these symptoms are present, the child should be taken to a cool place, given fluids, and their body temperature should be monitored. If the child’s temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, they should be taken to the hospital immediately.
If your child is feeling ill after being in the heat, it is crucial to have them evaluated within one to three hours. Symptoms of heat stress should go away after this time frame.
If your child is displaying symptoms of severe heat-related illness, such as continuous vomiting due to dehydration or a fever of over 104 degrees Fahrenheit lasting more than two hours, call your nearest pediatric urgent care center.
It is important to be aware of the signs of heat stress in children and to take steps to prevent it. Some simple measures include dressing children in light, loose-fitting clothing and ensuring they drink plenty of fluids. It is also vital to create a cool environment for children to play in, such as shady areas and cool rooms.
If a child does become overheated, it is important to cool them down gradually and seek medical help if necessary. With these measures in place, children can enjoy summertime fun while staying safe from heat stress.
For kids urgent care in Largo, FL, trust Your Kids Urgent Care. We serve as the intermediary between a child’s primary care physician and the emergency room. Contact us.