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Health Information For Parents
Our bodies create a lot of heat. Normally, they’re cooled through sweating and by heat radiating through the skin.
But in very hot weather, high humidity, and other conditions, this natural cooling system may begin to fail, letting heat in the body build to dangerous levels. The can cause heat illness, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke.
Heat cramps are brief, painful muscle cramps in the legs, arms, or belly that can happen during or after vigorous exercise in extreme heat. Sweating during the intense physical activity causes the body to lose salts and fluids. This low level of salts likely causes the muscles to cramp.
Kids are particularly at risk for heat cramps when they aren’t drinking enough fluids.
Although painful, heat cramps on their own aren’t serious. But cramps can be the first sign of more serious heat illness, so they should be treated right away to help avoid any problems.
A cool place, rest, and fluids should ease a child’s discomfort. Give water or fluids that contain salt and sugar, such as sports drinks. Gently stretching and massaging cramped muscles also may help.
Heat exhaustion is a more severe heat illness that can happen when someone in a hot climate or environment hasn’t been drinking enough liquids. Symptoms can include:
If left untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into heatstroke, a much more serious illness.
The most severe form of heat illness is heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency.
In heatstroke, the body cannot regulate its own temperature. Body temperature can soar to 106°F (41.1°C) or even higher, leading to brain damage or even death if it isn’t quickly treated. Quick medical care is needed to bring the body temperature under control.
Kids are at risk for heatstroke if they overdress or do intense physical activity in hot weather without drinking enough liquids.
Heatstroke also can happen when a child is left in, or gets trapped in, a car on a hot day. When the outside temperature is 93°F (33.9°C), the temperature inside a car can reach 125°F (51.7°C) in just 20 minutes, quickly raising body temperature to dangerous levels.
Call for emergency medical help if your child has been outside in extreme temperatures or another hot environment and shows one or more of these symptoms of heatstroke:
While waiting for help:
To help protect kids from heat illness:
You’ve prepared for the game in almost every way possible: but now what should you eat? Read about performance foods, nutritional supplements, and more.
Boo-boos, bug bites, and broken bones – oh my! Here’s your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about how to keep kids safe.
Super hot in summer? Then watch out for this.
Dehydration is when the amount of water in the body has dropped too low. Read about what causes dehydration, what it does to your body, and how to prevent it.
Our bodies need water to work properly. Find out more in this article for kids.
Find out what the experts have to say.
It’s fun to be outside on a hot, sunny day. But too much sun and heat can make you feel terrible. Find out how to stay safe in this article for kids.
Kids can become dehydrated when their bodies lose very large amounts of fluids. It’s important to replenish fluid losses as quickly as possible.
In hot weather, a child’s internal temperature can rise and cause heat exhaustion, which can progress to heatstroke if not treated quickly.
By teaching kids how to enjoy fun in the sun safely, parents can reduce their risk for developing skin cancer.
In an emergency, it’s hard to think clearly about your kids’ health information. Here’s what important medical information you should have handy, just in case.
All living things need water to survive. Find out more in this article for kids.
Sometimes kids lose fluids and salts through fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or sweating. Here are some tips on preventing or treating dehydration.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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