Heat Stroke/Exhaustion Signs in School Going Children & Prevention Tips
Created by Dr Shipra Mathur Updated on Apr 11, 2020
Summers are usually a fun time for kids with outdoor play, icecreams, pool events, school vacations, and trips! Children may end up spending a lot of time outdoors in the sun– be it for sports day/annual day practices in school or football and other activities during the holidays. Over the past few years, summers are getting increasingly hotter and our kids seem to be getting more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. The commonest of them is Heat Exhaustion and/or Heat Stroke.
Heat Stroke/Exhaustion in Pre-schoolers, Teenagers
Heat exhaustion /stroke occurs when the body produces more heat than it can release. This results in a rapid increase in core body temperature. Heat exhaustion is the milder form of the illness that may progress to heat stroke if not treated in time. Heat stroke is a medical emergency when the core body temperature is more than 104 F/40 C. This damages different organs of the body including the brain and, at times, proves fatal.
Your child might be at a higher risk for developing heat-related illnesses than adults. They are more prone to dehydration after vomiting or loose motions and may not feel thirsty early enough when low on fluids. Overall their body takes longer to adjust to hot weather and as parents, we should be aware of this difference.
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms in Kids
This usually occurs after a child has been playing in the heat and becomes dehydrated from losing excessive fluids and salt from sweating.
- Raised body temperature, usually less than 104˚ Fahrenheit
- Cool, clammy skin despite the heat
- Fainting, dizziness or weakness
- Increased sweating
- Increased thirst
- Muscle cramps in arms, legs, abdomen
- Nausea and/or vomiting
It’s important to treat heat exhaustion immediately, as it can develop into heat stroke.
- Move the child to a cooler environment at once
- Remove excessive clothing and cool the body with a fan
- Provide the child with plenty of fluids/oral rehydration solutions
Symptoms Of Heat Stroke
These tend to be more serious and there may be- A body temperature that rises dangerously high – above 104˚ Fahrenheit Absence of sweating
- Confusion, disorientation, loss of consciousness
- Flushed, hot and dry skin
- Rapid heartbeat and breathing
- Severe headache
Heat stroke is a medical emergency and as soon as possible:
- Bring the child indoors or into the shade and undress
- Apply cold towels over much of the body replacing frequently
- Avoid forcing fluids unless the child is conscious and alert
- Take to a hospital where intravenous fluids would be needed for dehydration
How To Prevent Child From Getting A Heat Stroke?
Read on to know how you can avoid it.
- Children should be kept well-hydrated when outside by giving them regular sips of water
- Outdoor games should be early in the morning or late in the afternoon
- During exercise, children should drink fluids every 20 minutes. Activities happening in open grounds should have scheduled breaks every 20–30 minutes
- If the duration of exposure to the sun is more than 1 hour, fluids with electrolytes and carbohydrates must be provided the example with glucose, lemonade
- Proper clothing such as light colored and lightweight cotton T-shirts and shorts are recommended. Avoid putting on too many clothes. Avoid tight helmets and always cover the head with a cap when stepping out in the sun. [Know - Home Remedies to Heal Summer Stroke]
It is important to know how to keep our kids safe and be able to enjoy the hot weather at the same time. Proper hydration, clothing and rest periods between outdoor play are key to avoiding heat stroke like illnesses. [Know: How To Recover Child from Dehydration?]
Did you like the blog? Did you find it useful? Do you know of any tips to prevent heat strokes in your child? Do share with fellow parents in the comments section below; we’d love to hear from you.