The most common heat illnesses--and what to do
Kids, especially those under 4, are susceptible to heat-related illness because their small bodies generate more heat than their few sweat glands can handle. And they don't always drink enough to replace the fluid they lose in sweat, leading to dehydration. Here are the most common heat illnesses--what to look for and how to help.
* Heat cramps: Painful leg or stomach cramps are caused by dehydration and a loss of minerals. Have him rest in a shady spot and give him fluids. Massaging tight muscles helps relieve the pain, but if it persists for an hour, get medical attention.
* Heat exhaustion
: Fatigue, headache, nausea, and pale or clammy skin indicate a child is becoming seriously overheated. Put him in the shade, loosen tight clothing, and sponge him down with cool water. If symptoms last more than an hour despite your efforts, get medical attention.
* Heat stroke
: If a child is disoriented, has hot dry skin, a rapid pulse or is unconscious, his temperature-regulating system has failed, and his temp may rise to 106°. Call for emergency help. While waiting, bring him indoors and sponge him with cool water or put him in a tub of cool water. Do not give fluids.
Find out more information on how to protect your child from a heat related illness at http://cdc.gov
Rachelle Vander Schaaf, a mother of two, lives in eastern Pennsylvania
and writes frequently about children's health.