Summer Simmers On: Keep Kids Safe from Heat Illnesses

| 8/9/2011 1:14:38 PM

J.PattonTo say this summer has been a hot one would be a huge understatement. There have been record-breaking temperatures, soaring heat indices, and days and days on end of heat advisories here in Kansas. Even though summer is ending soon, it’s still important to keep an eye on those climbing temperatures to prevent heat illness.

Heat illness occurs when your body can’t cool itself off. It happens most often when you stay out in the heat too long, and sweating is no longer enough to maintain a healthy body temperature. Strenuous exercise can also factor into a heat illness. Although heat illness can happen to anyone, it occurs most often in older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight.

According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, there are four types of heat illness to be on the lookout for:

1. Heatstroke: This is the most serious of all heat illnesses. It is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body temperature rises above 106 degrees in mere minutes. Symptoms include a rapid, strong pulse, dizziness and dry skin.

2. Heat exhaustion: This often occurs right before heatstroke. Symptoms include a fast, weak pulse, rapid breathing and heavy sweating.

3. Heat cramps: These occur during heavy exercise and include muscle pains or spasms.