Heatstroke in Kids – What to Look Out For

by | August 20, 2018

Summer has finally arrived, and as glorious as that can feel, it can also bring about some health concerns. The hot sun can lead to heatstroke and burning, and although kids are more at risk of sun-related injuries, it can happen to adults too. So let’s look at some measures you can take to keep you and your family well throughout the summer months.

Heatstroke

Heatstroke occurs with prolonged exposure to high temperatures, especially if hydration is not maintained. Kids are particularly at risk, as are the elderly, and those exerting themselves in the heat, such as athletes. The symptoms of heatstroke are rather unpleasant and include headache, nausea, fatigue, and anxiety. Heatstroke can potentially be very serious if the body’s core temperature reaches dangerous levels, and in these rare cases, vomiting, collapse and coma can occur. But as long you take protective measures to keep yourself and your kids cool and hydrated, heatstroke can be avoided.

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heatstroke


The most obvious preventative measure for heatstroke is to avoid the sun, staying in a cool, air-conditioned room, or sitting in the shade. As I’m sure you have heard before, avoiding the midday sun is also really important – the hottest part of the day is from 11am to , in fact. As I’ve already mentioned, hydration is of the utmost importance – make sure you are drinking more liquids, and if you do need to go into the sun, never leave without a bottle of water. If you and your family are venturing out into the heat, make sure you are covered up with loose, cool, light-colored clothing and a hat. It’s also important that you wear sun cream that is at least SPF30.

If anyone in your family does come down with heat stroke, cool them down with a fan or sponge them down with tepid water. As tempting as it might be to use a very cold bath or ice, this can, in fact, make things worse and should be avoided. Keep topping up with water, and even consider sports drinks with electrolytes in them – these are important as you can also lose salts when you become dehydrated. Kids should be given the age-appropriate dose of paracetamol every 6 hours, and as long as there is no allergy or reason why it can’t be taken, which includes breastfeeding, adults should take 600mg of aspirin every 4 hours. There are 300mg aspirin tablets which do not contain animal products, and children’s liquid paracetamol is normally free from these ingredients too. If there is any concern that severe heatstroke has occurred, then there should be no hesitation about calling an ambulance. As I mentioned earlier, heatstroke can be serious, and even fatal in some cases. If severe heatstroke does occur, hospital care is required for intravenous fluids, oxygen and possibly medication such as steroids.

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Hot sunny days are wonderful, and there is no reason why you and your family can’t enjoy them with just a few considerations to keep you all healthy. Just remember to take your high SPF sun cream, air-conditioned clothing, and of course that big bottle of water with you whenever you venture out into the heat! And if any of you are unlucky enough to fall ill with heatstroke, remember those simple cooling measures, but speak to a doctor if you have any concerns. Above all else, enjoy your summer!

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The Vegan Doctor

The Vegan Doctor, Dr Rebecca Jones, is a UK General Practitioner, an ethical vegan and health writer. She is a medical advocate for the vegan lifestyle, breaking down barriers between vegans and the medical profession.The Vegan Doctor blog contains up to date information on vegan medical issues such as which nutrients you need to consider taking, and how to find vegan alternatives to some medications. You can contact The Vegan Doctor via the website or Facebook page, and she welcomes suggestions for topics you would like to read about.The Vegan Doctor plans to be available for private consultations in a London based clinic within the next 12 months. She is also currently writing a book which she hopes will be available to buy in the coming months.

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