Heat-related illness and dehydration
Long exposure to high temperatures and/or humidity can cause serious injury or even death.
On hot or humid days, watch for symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- pale and clammy skin
- heavy sweating
- muscle cramps
When a child has symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Move the child to a cool and shaded area.
- Parents should immediately contact the child’s doctor. Caregivers should immediately contact the child’s family and advise that the child’s physician be contacted.
To prevent heat-related illness and dehydration:
Encourage children to drink liquids and cool off frequently.
- Children should not play outside when the heat index is greater than 32 degrees C (90 degrees F). Heat index is a number that relates humidity and air temperature. It is calculated by public health authorities and announced to the public in many communities.
- Provide small amounts of clear liquids at least every 2 hours to help restore fluids that the body loses through evaporation.
- Achieve quick and sanitary cooling by having children play under a sprinkler or by using cool water on paper towels to remove perspiration and oil from their skin.
How to check if a child is drinking enough fluids:
- A child can become dehydrated long before becoming thirsty.
- Check the child’s frequency of urination and urine color (concentration) to determine fluid needs.
- Normally, urine should be pale yellow or colorless, and children should urinate every 2 or 3 hours.
- Dark yellow (concentrated) urine is a sign that a child needs more fluids.