Health & Food

How to recognize extreme heat effects in children

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The nearly 110 heat at Magic Mountain isn't stopping families from going to the theme park. But there are things to keep in mind when taking your family out for fun in the sun.

Children in general are more likely to become dehydrated because pound for pound children build up more heat than adults and they don't sweat as much. Yet, they lose fluid quicker and thus dehydrate faster. Moorpark mom Cathy Bostic is well aware of that.

"I take the water and I make them drink for about 30 seconds at a time, even if they don't want it, because I think it's really important that they stay hydrated in this heat," she said.

It's a method Pediatric Dermatologist Dr. Robin Schaffran agrees with.

"Kids are more prone to getting dehydrated because they're not replenishing their fluids enough," she said. "They're sweating things out but they're busy and they're not always going to tell you when they're thirsty."

Parents should look for decreased physical activity, lack of tears when crying, dry mouth and irritability or fussiness.

"If you're drinking water and you're feeling weak, and you haven't gone to the bathroom and you stop sweating, or even sweating profusely, those are some signs," said Dr. Lawrence Wells with the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

In a baby's case, make sure to check their diaper. Concentrated urine is a bad sign. If you're indoors, experts say avoid using a fan because it dehydrates you faster. Outside, wear light, loose clothing. Hats are good for avoiding sun, but be aware they can trap heat in a young child's body. So pile on generous portions of sunscreen everywhere and often.

And it's not just good advice for kids. Even a few minutes out in the sun can have a harsh effect on adults too.

Make sure to wear a hat, stay hydrated and pace yourself. And if you're around someone who's elderly, look out for them too. Watch for signs like disorientation, dehydration and overheating.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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health, children's health, health & food, denise dador
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