With summer in full swing, most parents are generally aware of importance sun protection. But in addition to abundant sunshine, northern Nevada also gets its fair share of extreme desert heat! These high temperatures put everyone, especially kids, at risk for developing adverse heat reactions like heat exhaustion and heatstroke, which can have potentially fatal effects.
Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Physician at Saint Mary’s Medical Group shares with us some quick tips for identifying, treating and preventing Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke.
First things first, know the signs:
Heat exhaustion can eventually lead to heat stroke, which can be potentially fatal. Heat exhaustion typically starts slowly, but if it’s not treated or noticed soon it can develop into heat stroke. Key signs of heat exhaustion include: increased thirst, feeling weak or faint, muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting, irritability, headache, increased sweating, and cool, clammy skin.
Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention. Signs of heat stoke include severe headache, confusion, rapid breathing and heartrate, loss of consciousness, seizures, flushed and dry skin, that’s not sweating.
Second. Know how to treat heat exhaustion.
If you feel your child is experiencing heat exhaustion I recommend the following:
- Move them to a cooler, shaded location
- Ensure they are hydrated with water, frequent sips of iced water are best
- Lie them down and loosen clothing
- Apply cool wet compresses on the body or place them in a cool bath.
If your child is exhibiting additional signs of heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately by calling 911.
Finally, prevent heat exhaustion before it starts.
Many times, parents may not realize how hot their children may be, especially if they are running around and being active outdoors on hot days. Here are a few tips to prevent overheating in children
- Never leave kids in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open. In as little as five minutes, the temperature can spike to unhealthy levels.
- Provide water throughout the day, offer it to your child frequently. Often they will forget to drink water due to involvement in their play activity
- Dress your kids in loose light-weight and light colored clothing. Don’t forget protective head gear such as a hat or visor.
- Be mindful of outdoor play times. Schedule outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day like the morning and evening.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only.
For additonal resources, visit SaintMarysMedicalGroup.com
Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell oversees Saint Mary’s Medical Group’s urgent care clinics and is instrumental in enhancing the patient experience. She has a passion for family medicine and collaborating with her team and patients to provide quality medical care. Born and raised in northern Nevada, Dr. Curry-Winchell is a mother to an almost two-year-old daughter, with another one on the way!