Cooling Heat-related Illness
Keeping kids active in the summer can be challenging. The decrease in physical activity without physical education classes, organized sports, and after-school playground time in the summers places many kids at a sedentary level of activity, which can increase the risk for obesity and set children back developmentally during the three months they’re at home.
There’s no reason kids can’t stay active during the summers, even when it’s hot outside. Limit outdoor activity to the mornings before the temperature rises or the late afternoons when it cools off. For blazing hot midsummer mid-days, check out indoor play areas, or hit the pool or beach to cool down.
Even moderately hot weather shouldn’t limit activity if you use common-sense precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat cramps, says Jacki Howenstein,
Director of Emergency Services at Grand View Hospital. She says the most common causes of heat-related illnesses are poor hydration, inappropriate clothing, and unnecessary physical exertion. Dress your children for the weather in light-colored, sleeveless outfits in summer-weight fabrics.
“The most important thing is to remember to stay hydrated,” says Howenstein. “Bring along plenty of water and make sure your kids are drinking it.”
Watch out for signs of heat-related illness, which includes dizziness, nausea, headache, muscle cramps, and weakness. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, slow down, get hydrated, and try to lower body temperature by sitting in the shade or getting out of the heat. If symptoms don’t subside or get worse, call your doctor.
For extreme heat-related conditions such as heat stroke, a visit to the emergency room may be in order. “Heat stroke can be a life-threatening condition if not treated immediately,” Howenstein says. “The best course of treatment is to get out of the heat, get hydrated, and seek medical treatment if symptoms do not subside.”