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How Can I Be Safe in the Hot Weather with Children

by -

two children in the midwest summer heat cooling off in lake water

Summer is officially here and kids are ready to be outside in the heat. The hot summer sun brings the risk of heat stroke, heat exhaustion and further illness. Over the past few years, heat-related illnesses and injuries seen in the emergency departments throughout Iowa continue to grow. Be proactive and learn about heat exhaustion signs and how to prevent summer heat illness.

How can I stay cool in the summer heat when I'm outside?

  • Slow down and take breaks often. For as much time as you are exercising or spending time outside, take a break indoors or within air conditioning. For example, if you are outside for 30 minutes then spend 30 minutes indoors. 
  • Avoid hard exercise during the peak hours of the day. Peak hot times build in the afternoon and hit between 2 and 3 p.m. Try to exercise during the morning or late hours.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water or a drink with electrolytes is best. Avoid alcohol, sugary drinks or pop as they only increase dehydration. 16-32 oz. every hour is recommended. 
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing, lightweight and light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors that absorb the sun's ray. 
  • Wear sunscreen.  It’s harder for the body to keep sunburned skin cool. And re-apply! 

Possible Signs of Heat Exhaustion or Feeling Overheated: 

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tired or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • A headache
  • Fainting

What to do I do if I think I'm overheated and may have heatstroke? Go to a cool and dark place, loosen your clothes and if possible take a cool bath or shower. Drink 4 ounces of cool water every 15 minutes.

Do I need to seek medical attention if I think I have a heat illness? If you are vomiting, symptoms get worse or they last longer than one hour, you should seek medical attention.

If you think you may be exhibiting signs of a heat stroke, you may have the following signs and symptoms:

  • High-body temperature (103 degrees or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • A headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

What to do? Call 9-1-1 right away. Heat Stroke is an emergency. 

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