Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Too Hot, Too Fast: Signs your Kids Could Be Dehydrated

Where we live, it is hotter than hot this summer. When I walk outside, I am full-on sweating before I even reach my car. My almost four year-old, who usually does not complain about rain, sleet, snow or heat, even said to me today, “Mommy, it’s too hot to play outside today.”

The summer sun can be ruthless, so it’s important to recognize the early signs of dehydration and other heat-related illnesses. Children are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, because their bodies do not get rid of heat as efficiently as adults' bodies do. Check out these tips below on how to keep your kids from reaching the point of too much sun, and not enough water.

- When kids begin to complain with thirst or feeling hot while playing outside, or just seem irritable in the heat, they may have early dehydration. Get them out of the sun immediately and find a cool spot to sit and relax. Push fluids as well (water or sports drinks with electrolytes are best.)

- If you know your child has been outside in the heat and is experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible: few or no tears when crying, eyes that look sunken in the head, lack of urine or wet diapers, headache, extreme fatigue, dizziness or altered mental state.

- Encourage your child to drink water before, during and after outside activities when it is a hot day.

- Avoid giving your kids fruit juices, sodas and other caffeinated beverages when playing outside in the heat. These types of drinks can actually make dehydration occur more quickly.

- Find shady spots outside to take breaks from playing. Have your kids drink fluids every 20-30 minutes, or even more often if they ask for it.

- When playing in the heat, dress your children in loose, light colored clothing.

- Whatever you do, do not leave your children alone in a hot car, even for a few minutes.

Play it safe in the sun by staying cool and hydrated the rest of the summer!

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