With temperatures in the low 80s and even the mid 70s, this year’s July isn’t living up to the sweltering temperatures that summer is known for.

But the hottest days are still around the corner, bringing the hazard of heat stress and heat stroke in children.

Children, particularly 4 years and younger, are as much in danger of heat-related illness as adults as the hottest days of summer kick in. The conditions — heat exhaustion, heat stroke and heat cramps — happen when the body’s ability to control its temperature is overloaded.

Lisa Repka, a certified physician’s assistant in the emergency department at Provena United Samaritans Medical Center, said the hospital sees the most heat-related illnesses in children during the practice seasons for sports.

But the possibility exists any time high temperatures hit.

Keeping well hydrated during hot weather is the best way to avoid heat-related illness. And, despite all the different drinks on the supermarket shelves, one liquid in particular is the best at staying cool.

“Water is No. 1,” said Repka, noting sugar-filled drinks like soda are not as efficient.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest children and adults alike should drink more than their thirst indicates, no matter what level of activity is taking place.

Staying out of the sun as much as possible is another common-sense prevention for heat-related illness, Repka said. The hottest hours of the day usually run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parents who let their children play outside during those hours should make sure they have sunscreen.

There are a number of symptoms that are indicators of either heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Among those are dizziness, nausea, vomiting and extreme sweating. In addition, a rapid pulse and elevated body temperature may be encountered.

Cooling the person off is the best way to fight heat-related illness, specifically getting him or her into a shaded spot and pushing the amount of fluids he or she drinks, Repka said.

Fanning the person also helps, as well as getting him into an air conditioned area, although Repka said intense measures aren’t necessary. The person needs to be cooled, not shivering.

Recommended for you