Heat Cramps Signs and Symptoms
If your child is outside in the heat for prolonged periods of time, their body will sweat to attempt to cool off your child’s body. However, a child who isn’t getting enough to drink will not only suffer from possible dehydration but they can get painful muscle cramps. The cramps are a direct result of your body using the water stored in your body and without water the muscles will begin to spasm which causes the painful cramps. Heat cramps usually happen in the abdomen, arms, and legs. If your child is suffering from heat cramps, move them to a cool location and offer them a sports drink to help replenish the electrolytes in their body. If possible, rub the muscle that is cramping to help relieve the pain. Allow your child to rest for several hours before resuming any physical activity to prevent further complications from heat related illnesses. Seek medical attention if the muscle cramps don’t go away after one hour.
Heat Exhaustion Signs and Symptoms
A child who is outside for extended periods of time are susceptible to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion happens when the body attempts to cool itself off by sweating. When you sweat excessively your body loses water and salt and if it isn’t replaced it can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. It is very important that your child replaces the electrolytes, especially, if they plan on spending an excessive amount of time outside in the heat. Heat exhaustion can happen very quickly so it is important to respond immediately if your child has any of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, headache, dizziness, fainting, cold or clammy skin, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, rapid or shallow breathing, and rapid or weak pulse. If your child has any of these symptoms, immediately move them to a cool area and offer them something to drink, preferably sports drink. Don’t force the child to drink. Try and help them cool off their body by placing a cool rag on their forehead and point a fan on them. Seek medical attention if the symptoms don’t subside or get worse over the next hour.
Heat Stroke Signs and Symptoms
If your child is exhibiting any signs or symptoms of a heat stroke, it is very important that you act quickly to avoid possible complications from this serious heat related illness. A heat stroke happens when the body’s internal thermometer suddenly stops working and the core body temperature skyrockets to dangerous levels. The signs and symptoms of a heat stroke include: dry and hot skin, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, fainting, confusion, seizures, coma, or unconsciousness. This condition is serious and requires immediate medical attention. If a child is exhibiting any signs and symptoms of a heat stroke call 911 and immediately move them to a cool location. Begin to try and cool their body off by placing ice packs under their arms and on their groin. Do offer the patient something to drink if they are awake and alert; however, never force them to drink. Remove as much clothing as possible and attempt to cool the child off by giving a sponge bath, wrapping them in a wet sheet, placing a fan, or air conditioner directly on them.
Do you know someone who has ever suffered from a heat related illness?