When the rain finally stops in British Columbia the sun comes out in full force. This is when us British Columbians get to stop complaining about the constant rain and complain about how hot it is!
When it gets hot outside you need to be conscientious about how to make sure that your kids and you stay safe in the sun. Heat exhaustion can occur easily, especially in children, and proper steps need to be taken so that the progression from heat exhaustion into heat stroke can be avoided. Heat stroke is considered the worst heat injury and is serious.
How to reduce your chance of heat exhaustion and heat stroke
-Drink LOTS of water. Keep a water bottle handy for the kids and for you at all times!
-Dress appropriately. It’s hard when kids want to make up their own minds about what to wear, but insisting that shorts and sandals is a better alternative than pants and rainboots in 30 degree weather is wise.
-Encourage your kids to slow down. Their bodies heat up as they move.
-Stay in the shade or find a break from the heat.
-Splash around in water to reduce body temperature. Be careful about sun exposure, though.
-Try and avoid direct sunlight between the hours of 10-2.
-Wear protective clothing. UV articles can keep young skin safe!
-Monitor your kids. If you see them starting to act out of the norm it’s time to cool their bodies.
Signs of overheating and heat stroke
-redness in skin
-irritability or aggressiveness*
-loss of consciousness*
-shallow, rapid breathing*
-lack of sweat*
*These are symptoms of heat stroke. Heat stroke is considered a medical emergency and 911 needs to be called.
What to do for heat exhaustion and heat stroke
If signs of heat exhaustion are becoming apparent:
-get to a cool area
-loosen tight clothing and remove anything drenched with sweat
-put cool water on the skin and fan to further reduce body temperature
-encourage water be consumed. NO other liquids; just water.
-have the person rest for the duration of the day.
-monitor closely. If symptoms worsen medical attention needs to be sought.
If signs of heat stroke are apparent:
-get to a cool area
-cool the body as quickly as possible. If water is available submerge their body-make sure to keep their head above water. Ice packs wrapped in a towel placed in the groin, armpits, and back of neck will help cool the body quickly.
-have them drink water if they can
-call 911 and follow instructions until paramedics arrive
You know your child and can make the best assessment as to whether they are acting like themselves or not. If you suspect your child or yourself are becoming affected by the heat it’s best to err on the side of caution and get somewhere cool.