Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Heat Stroke: Symptoms and How to Avoid it

Heat stroke can be fatal for both adults and children. We've found some good information from Dr. Greene on symptoms, and how to avoid it. It is important to recognize and treat heat exhaustion immediately.

Heat stroke is very serious. A person's temperature rises over 104 degrees and he or she has an altered mental status. 50 percent of those with heat stroke die from it. There are two types of heat stroke: exertional, with profuse sweating; and classic, in which the skin is hot and dry. Classic heat stroke builds up over days and is most common in infants and in the elderly. It is a true emergency.

The smaller the child, the less likely he is to be able to tolerate heat, especially if he is already a bit dehydrated or has a fever, and if there is poor air circulation.

Heat injuries can occur at any age. Sports and physical activity are generally beneficial and healthy for adolescents; nevertheless, heat injuries are among the leading causes of sports deaths.

Dr. Greene also points out that these populations are at a higher risk:
  • Small children and babies;
  • People who have a prior history of heat injury;
  • People who are taking medicines or drugs (including antihistamines, Ritalin, thyroid hormone, some colic medicines, bed-wetting medicines, diuretics, or laxatives);
  • Or people who have underlying illnesses (such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, vomiting, diarrhea, bronchiolitis, or a variety of skin disorders)
How Can You Prevent Heat Injuries?
Hydration and air circulation. Two very simple steps parents should be extremely attentive to during the blazing days of summer. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day during hot weather. If you wait until you feel thirsty, your body has already become dehydrated. Don’t wait, just drink. And, remind your kids to drink (sometimes my husband and I hover over our girls, saying “chug, chug, chug!” just to get them to take an honest, big drink).
  • If you’re exercising (think swimming, playing at the park, sports), drink plenty of water before you begin and every 20 minutes during. Dr. Greene says water is fine for exercise up to an hour, but electrolyte solutions are better for exercise that is more strenuous. Skip the Gatorade and opt for something pure and healthy – like coconut water.
  • When you’re on the go (or even just playing in the yard), keep cold, bottled water on hand.
  • Keep some coconut water in your pantry (or in the fridge, if you can spare the room). That way if your child ever starts showing symptoms of dehydration or heat injury, you can quickly and safely re-hydrate and replace electrolytes lost through sweat.
Sources:, shine

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