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Keeping it Cool: Preventing Heat-Related Illnesses in Kids

Heat exhaustion usually develops as the result of prolonged exposure to high temperatures combined with inadequate hydration. The body loses moisture and salt through sweat, and heat exhaustion is the body's response to unbalanced fluid replacement. The CDC lists symptoms of heat exhaustion as:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness, headache, or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Fast, shallow breathing

If heat exhaustion is left untreated, it can progress to heat stroke. To avoid this, the American Red Cross (ARC) recommends the following treatment:

  • Move the individual to a cool place.
  • Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool wet clothes (such as sheets or towels soaked in water) to the skin.
  • Have the victim sip half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes.
  • Monitor the individual for any changes in his condition.
  • Seek medical attention if the symptoms are severe, worsen, or if the victim has high blood pressure or heart problems.


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