The arrival of August brings with it dangerously high temperatures. As school athletics and after-school activities begin, many children will be exposed to these high temperatures for longer than normal lengths of time. Unfortunately, this can lead many kids developing heat exhaustion.
What is Heat Exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion is caused by dehydration and exposure to high temperatures for an extended period of time. If not treated correctly, heat exhaustion can quickly turn into heat stroke. There are two different types of heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion caused by water depletion and heat exhaustion caused by salt depletion.
- Signs of water depletion include excessive thirst, weakness, headache, and loss of consciousness.
- Signs of salt depletion include nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, and dizziness.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
- Excessive Sweating
- Pale Skin
- Fast pulse
- Dark Urine
How to Treat Heat Exhaustion
If you believe that you or someone you know is experiencing heat exhaustion, get into an air-conditioned space or cool, shaded area as soon as possible. WebMD recommends the following procedures:
- Drink plenty of fluid – avoid caffeine.
- Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing.
- Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
- Use a fan or ice towels to cool-off.
If these do not help within 30 minutes, you should immediately contact a doctor.
High Risk Individuals
- Age: Children 0-4, and adults over 65.
- Health conditions: obesity, underweight, high blood pressure, diabetes.
- Medications: diuretics, sedatives, stimulants, some blood pressure medications.
How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion
- Stay hydrated; drink 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes.
- Avoid soda and other caffeinated beverages.
- Take breaks to cool down.
- Apply plenty of sunscreen.
- Wear light colored and loose fitting clothing
The most important thing you can do is teach your children what the signs of heat exhaustion are, and how to treat it they or someone else is experiencing it.