Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses
There is no shortage of outdoor activities available in the summer.
Time can slip right by. But experts say it’s important to recognize that children and adults tolerate heat very differently.
“Children are at higher risk for heat-related injuries because they have thin skin and they don't manage the heat exchange well. They tend to lose more fluids through their skin and so they need extra fluids relative to what an adult does,” says Dr. James Fortenberry of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infants and children younger than four are among those at the greatest risk for heat-related illness.
For babies under six months, doctors suggest:
-keeping them out of direct sun
-have them hydrated prior to going out
-drink every under 20 minutes
For older children:
-anticipate and plan ahead. They, too, need to drink before going out.
-take frequent breaks to rehydrate
-avoid sodas with caffeine
And while water is usually sufficient, “After about an hour, water is not enough-utilizing a sports drink can be helpful for the extra electrolytes in it.”
Parents should be able to recognize these symptoms of heat illness:
They are all signs that medical attention may be needed for a child.