In Florida, a large number of children suffer from heat-related illnesses every year. While most cases are minor and treatable at home, some can lead to more serious complications. For example, heat stroke is a potentially fatal condition requiring immediate medical attention. Heat stroke symptoms include a body temperature of 104 degrees, hot and dry skin, a rapid heartbeat, and vomiting. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Another common heat-related illness in children is heat exhaustion. Heavy sweating, pale skin, dizziness, headaches, and muscle cramps are all symptoms. If your child appears thirsty or complains of being hot, give them plenty of fluids and immediately move them to a cool location. Most cases of heat-related illness can be resolved quickly and without complications with proper care and treatment. However, it is critical to be aware of the signs and symptoms to take appropriate action.
How Do Children Differ From Adults?
Kids generally won’t tell you there’s a problem until it’s too late. While an adult might say, ‘Hey, I’m not feeling well, I’m tired, I’m going to take a break,’ kids keep going because they live in the moment.
- Unlike most adults, children, particularly infants and young children, rely on their parents or caregivers to keep them cool, hydrated, and aware of any signs of heat illness.
- A child’s body produces more heat than an adult’s body.
- Children sweat less than adults.
- Children frequently do not drink enough fluids during exercise or when it is hot.
- Children frequently do not know when to come inside the house to cool off.
How to Prevent Heat-Related Illness?
Summer heat and humidity levels can rise, making it feel hotter than usual outside. Extreme heat occurs when the temperature and humidity are much higher than expected on a typical summer day. Anyone’s health can be harmed by excessive heat, but infants (0–1 year) and young children (1–5 years) may be at a higher risk of heat-related illness. One way to prevent this is to stay cool indoors.
- If you have air conditioning (AC), turn it on. If you do not have one, consider getting an AC installation in Melbourne, FL.
- Visit nearby cooling centers or community spaces, such as libraries or shopping malls.
- Keep windows closed during the day to keep cool air inside.
- Cover windows with shutters, blinds, drapes, blankets, or sheets to keep the sun out.
- Open windows to let cool air in if the temperature drops at night; it is safe.
- To avoid unnecessary heat, turn off all lights and electronic devices that are not in use.
- Do not direct a fan at your baby or child, as this can dehydrate them. When temperatures exceed 90 degrees, fans may not be effective in preventing heat-related illness.
- Give your child a normal room temperature bath or sponge bath under supervision.
To summarize, heat-related illness in children is a serious issue that should not be overlooked. If a child exhibits symptoms of heat exhaustion, seek medical attention immediately. Heat-related illness can be significantly reduced with proper precautions, such as staying hydrated, avoiding prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, and staying in a place that provides air conditioning.