Summer Heat: How to Protect You and Your Child

heat
/hēt/
noun: the quality of being hot; high temperature.

So as you all know, it is HOT out there! While the heat and sun feel amazing (I really dislike the cold temps), you must take precautions to prevent heat-related illness when it is this hot outside. Although preventable, over 650 people per year die from heat-related illnesses, also known as hyperthermia.

Heat-related illness can be either exertional (such as working out or playing outside in the heat) or non-exertional (such as leaving a child unattended in a hot car).
Heat-related illness can present as:
1) Heat cramps-This is the most mild form of heat-related illness. Heat cramps will present as muscle cramps or spasms that occur during or after intense exercise and sweating in high heat.
Symptoms include painful cramps in the legs, flushed and moist skin.
2) Heat exhaustion-This more severe than heat cramps that results from a loss of water and salt in the body. Heat exhaustion ccurs in conditions of extreme heat and excessive sweating without adequate fluid and salt replacement.
Symptoms include: pale skin, low-grade fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and feeling faint.
3) Heat stroke- This is the most severe form and can result if heat exhaustion isn’t adequately treated. Heat stroke occurs when the body’s heat-regulating system is overwhelmed by excessive heat. This is a life-threatening EMERGENCY and requires immediate medical attention.
*Symptoms include: warm, dry skin, fever over 104 degrees C, rapid heart rate, loss of appetite, fatigue, confusion, lethargy, seizures, coma and possibly death.

So please remember:
-Do NOT leave your kids unattended in the car…not even for a few minutes. This is the leading cause of infant death from heat-illness.
-Drinks LOTS of fluids: either water or sports drinks. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol cause dehydration.
-Dress in loose, light-colored clothing.
-Protect yourself and your children from the sun: please use hats, umbrellas and apply sunscreen that is at least SPF 15.
-Spend time indoors during the hottest part of the day.
-Encourage your children to slow down, rest and cool-down. You can spray them down with water (water bottle or hose) throughout the day.
-All physical activity should be done when the temps are lower (early morning or evening) and rest in shady areas.
-Children and teens with chronic health problems, or those who take certain medicines, may be more susceptible to heat-related illness.

Enjoy the summer temperatures, but please do it SAFELY!

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