Texas currently has an excessive heat warning in effect. During this period, heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke will be prevalent.
Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. It is important to make sure that if your child has heat exhaustion they are put in an air-conditioned room with plenty of water to cool down. A lukewarm shower can also help.
Here are some tips and tricks for preventing heat-related illnesses:
- Try not to be outside during the hottest parts of the day (from about noon to two hours from sunset). Try to be in an air-conditioned building and drink more water than normal.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays, causing your child to become hotter.
- Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Adults should also avoid alcohol. Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. A car can heat up close to 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help.
- Check your vehicle for any issues before driving in extreme heat.
- Carry extra water in your car if traveling long distances.
- Signs of heat exhaustion include flushing of the skin, rapid breathing, and rapid heart rate at rest. If you are exercising in the heat, feeling light headed or faint is a sign of heat exhaustion.
- Be prepared if your child is going to be in the heat. Have extra cold water, ice packs, and a couple of wash cloths. Place your child in a cool area and out of the sun if there are signs of heat exhaustion. Apply cold, wet wash cloths to the neck, chest, and extremities. If there is no nausea have your child drink cold water.
Signs that lead to heat stroke are heat exhaustion with no sweating, pale or clammy extremities, unable to communicate normally, and difficulty walking. Efforts to cool your child down should be started immediately while calling 911 for medical assistance.
Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care has 11 locations in Texas, with a 12th opening next month! Little Spurs offers urgent care services to children from the age of 0-21 years old. Open seven days a week, Little Spurs offers walk-in service and has pediatric specialists at all of it’s locations.
-Thomas Spurgat, MD, MBA