Heat exhaustion is simply the body’s response to a loss of water and body salts through excessive sweating in hot conditions.
Children can easily overheat if they are running about on a warm day and if their core body heat exceeds 38 degrees centigrade, they will start to show signs of heat exhaustion that if not treated, can lead to heat stroke, which can be really serious.
Things to look out for:
- Confusion, dizziness
- Pale, sweaty skin,
- Feeling sick, loss of appetite, vomiting
- Fast, weak pulse and fast breathing
- Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
- Your child may say that they ‘feel cold’, but they will be hot to touch
Heat exhaustion is simple to treat:
- Take your child to a cool place
- Remove excessive clothing and lay them down
- Give them plenty of sips of water to re-hydrate them. Oral rehydration solutions or isotonic drinks are excellent as they also replace lost body salts – but water will do to start with
- Obtain medical advice if you are at all concerned, even if the casualty recovers quickly
- If your child seems to losing consciousness – place them in the recovery position and call 999/112 for emergency help. Monitor airway and breathing.
Heat stroke is a very serious condition that results from the failure of the mechanism in the brain that controls the temperature of the body. The sweating mechanism fails, the body is unable to cool down and the core temperature can reach dangerously high levels of over 40 degrees Centigrade within 10 – 15 minutes.
If your child is suffering from:
- Severe confusion and restlessness
- Flushed hot dry skin ( no sweating)
- Strong fast pulse
- Throbbing headache
- Feeling sick or vomiting
- lack of response leading to unconsciousness
- Possibility of seizures if unconscious.
If your child has those symptoms, then:
- Move your child to a cool place
- Call 999/112 for emergency help straight away
- Cool your child rapidly using whatever methods you can -
- Remove outer clothing and wrap casualty in a cold wet sheet
- Continually sponge with tepid water and fan the casualty
- a cool shower if they are conscious enough
- Spray with cool water from a garden hose
Prevention is always better than cure, so keep an eye on those kiddies and don’t let them overheat in the warm weather.