Recognizing and preventing heat illness

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Keeping cool when the days get hotter is important, especially for kids.

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Physician Dr. Shannon Cohen says heat exhaustion starts slowly, but can quickly progress into heatstroke. She says heatstroke can be fatal and requires immediate emergency medical treatment.

Dr. Cohen says signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Weakness
  • Fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Increased sweating
  • Cool, clammy skin
  • Elevation of body temperature

During a heatstroke, Dr. Cohen says all symptoms increase as core temperature reaches 104 degrees. She says this could lead to possible brain damage or even death.

She says this can happen very quicly because a child’s body can heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s body.

In order to prevent heat related illnesses, Dr. Cohen says parents should:

  • Never leave a child alone in a car and keep parked cars locked at all times.
  • Teach kids to always drink plenty of fluids before and during any activity in hot, sunny weather even if they aren’t thirsty
  • Don’t allow kids to participate in heavy activity outdoors during the hottest hours of the day. Also, take frequent breaks whenever they are playing or exercising outdoors any time of day.
  • Teach kids to come indoors immediately whenever they feel overheated.
  • Dress kids in light-colored, loose clothing in hot weather.

For more information follow links below.

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