Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Sizzle: Heat Protection

We know being out in the sun for too long can cause a nasty sunburn if we neglect the proper skin protection.  We sometimes forget though, the harm the heat alone, can cause our bodies.  It's important to remember that children don't sweat like adults, so keep this in mind and monitor them whether they are playing in a sports game, on the playground, or with you on the beach and in other hot climate settings.

For more information about exercising in the heat, check out
 The University of Missouri's Q & A article

We are going to touch on 3 heat issues that can not only cause pain and discomfort, but can even lead to death if left untreated.

The first of these 3 issues and the least hazardous, are heat cramps.  Although these are extremely painful, they are not a life threatening issue. Heat cramps are cause by a lack of adequate fluid intake during vigorous exercise in warmer than usual conditions. If Sally's soccer tournament occurs during the summer's essential you keep an eye on her fluid intake. If she experiences heat cramps-find a cool place for her to rest and have her drink fluids. Sometimes massaging the cramped muscle can help, but be aware that it is incredibly painful so be cautious to her needs.
A more severe heat concern is heat exhaustion, which can occur due to inadequate fluid intake and simply from being out in the heat too long. You may see symptoms including dehydration, weakness/fatigue, headaches, nausea, clammy skin, hyperventilation, and irritability. If any of these symptoms occur, seek the indoors and loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool (not cold) bath to reduce temperature and call your doctor if you are too tired or ill to eat or drink anything. Be aware that heat exhaustion can escalate to a heat stroke, which can be fatal.

For more information about heat exhaustion visit

Finally, the most severe heat concern is a heat stroke. Heat stroke is when your body loses the ability to regulate its own temperature and it can be fatal. It sometimes is the result of overdressing and participating in severe physical activity (ex. helmets, padding, baseball pants, etc. can contribute to higher core temperatures). Heat stroke can also occur if a child (or pet) is left or becomes trapped inside a car on a hot day. Cracking the window does not make a huge difference in the car - please don't leave your child or pet in the car unattended, especially on a hot summer day. Temperatures inside the car can reach more than 20 degrees warmer that the outdoor temperatures. Call 911 if your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms: flushed, hot skin, but not sweating; body temp of 105 degrees or more; severe headaches, weakness, dizziness, or confusion; extreme fatigue; seizures; decrease responsiveness; loss of consciousness. If these symptoms are apparent-call 911 and get indoors or find shade. Remove clothing and douse with cool water and do NOT give them fluids.

Summer outdoor activities are fun, but should be monitored.  Try finding some downtime in the shade or indoors to prevent any sun or heat issues.  Best wishes!

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