Heat: Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Here are some ways to prevent dehydration and recognize the signs.
Ways to prevent dehydration:
- Have your kids drink plenty of fluids before, during and after any activity in the summer heat.
- They should consume more fluids than they lose.
- Ideally, participation in physical activities such as sports practices and competitions should not be scheduled during the hottest hours of the day.
- Keep them in a cool, shaded environment as much as possible.
- Have them take breaks at regularly scheduled intervals to drink plenty of fluids [recommended time: every 20 minutes, at a minimum].
Signs of dehydration:
- Body aches or chills
- Decrease in energy – fatigue, lethargy or irritability
- Loss of appetite
- Dry, cool skin
- Skin flushing
- Dark colored urine or lack of urine for 12 hours
- Dry or sticky Mouth
- Fatique or Weakness
- Most people who are in a dehydrated state that they do not feel thirsty
According to the Mayo Clinic, heatstroke results from exerting in the heat along with inadequate fluid intake.
The Mayo Clinic also says, “What makes heatstroke severe and potentially life-threatening is that the body’s normal mechanisms for dealing with heat stress, such as sweating and temperature control, are inadequate. The main sign of heatstroke is a markedly elevated body temperature — generally greater than 104 F (40 C) — with changes in mental status ranging from personality changes to confusion and coma.”
Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Elevated or lowered blood pressure
- Cessation of sweating
- Irritability, confusion or unconsciousness
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Fainting, which may be the first sign in older adults
If you suspect heatstroke:
- Move the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned space.
- Call 911 or emergency medical help.
- Cool the person by covering him or her with damp sheets or by spraying with cool water. Direct air onto the person with a fan or newspaper.
- Have the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine, if he or she is able.
Medical information within this site is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of any health condition. Please consult a licensed health care professional for the treatment or diagnosis of any medical condition.
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