SOS hot weather: What you need to know about heat exhaustion and heat strokes
Summer is all about beach games and outdoor fun, but your should not allow your children to spend too much time in the sun, in order to avoid problems caused by heat.
Heat stroke may occur from prolonged exposure to high temperatures -- usually in combination with high levels of humidity and dehydration -- which leads to failure of the body's temperature control system. Children are particularly susceptible to heat stroke because their bodies have not yet developed a temperature control system, namely the physical ability to control body temperature.
The most common signs and symptoms of heat stroke include nausea and vomiting, fatigue and weakness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, fever, rapid heartbeat, respiratory problems and sudden sleepiness. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to get your child to lie down in the shade in a ventilated environment, lifting up his legs to improve circulation to the brain and heart, and getting him to take small sips of water which should not be too cold.
But as we all know prevention is better than cure, so here are the precautions to take to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
- Exposure to sunlight and physical exercise should be avoided during the hottest hours of the day (11 am to 4 pm). Sunlight is important for the production of vitamin D, but exposure to sun must be gradual.
- Make sure your child wears a hat and lightweight pastel coloured clothing, that reflect sunlight.
- Always use a high protection sunscreen for your kids.
- Sponge down head and body, by getting them to take a shower or a bath.
- Make sure your children drink lots of cool liquids. If it is very hot, mineral drinks may be very useful.
- Their diet should above all include lots of fruit and vegetables.
Enjoy yourselves this summer!