Summer in Alabama can bring high temperatures and an oppressive heat index. Kids are at risk for heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke if they play outside or have athletic practices in this hot, humid weather. It’s important for parents and coaches to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat illness.
Signs and Symptoms
Of heat exhaustion:
- increased thirst
- weakness and extreme tiredness
- muscle cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- increased sweating
- cool, clammy skin
- body temperature rises, but to less than 105°F (40.5°C)
Of heat stroke:
- severe headache
- weakness, dizziness
- fast breathing and heartbeat
- loss of consciousness (passing out)
- little or no sweating
- flushed, hot, dry skin
- body temperature rises to 105°F (40.5°C) or higher
What to Do
If your child has symptoms of heat stroke, get emergency medical care immediately.
For cases of heat exhaustion or while awaiting help for a child with possible heat stroke:
- Bring the child indoors or into the shade immediately.
- Undress the child.
- Have the child lie down; raise the feet slightly.
- If the child is alert, place in a lukewarm bath or spray with lukewarm water.
- If the child is alert and coherent, give frequent sips of cool, clear fluids.
- If the child is vomiting, turn onto his or her side to prevent choking.
To help protect kids from heat illness
- Kids should take breaks while out in direct sun every 20 minutes for shade and hydration on days with a high heat index, with the goal of 4-8oz of fluid intake per break.
- Teach kids to always drink plenty of liquids before and during activity in hot, sunny weather — even if they’re not thirsty.
- Kids should wear light-colored, loose clothing on hot days and use sunscreen when outdoors.
- On hot or humid days, limit outdoor activity during the hottest parts of the day.
- Teach kids to come indoors, rest and hydrate right away whenever they feel overheated