How to Spot Heat Illness in Your Child


Physicians at community hospitals support outdoor play for children because it encourages better health through an active lifestyle. However, when the temperatures rise, it’s important for parents to closely monitor young children for signs of heat-related illnesses . Heat-related illnesses develop in a progressive manner. If they are left untreated, the minor symptoms of heat cramps can lead to the life-threatening problems associated with heatstroke, which requires emergency care. Learning to identify the signs of heat illnesses facilitates prompt treatment.

Symptoms Children May Complain Of

Before your children go outdoors to play, remind them to come inside and let you know immediately if they feel unwell. Initially, children might complain of a headache, thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, or muscle cramps. These are indicators of dehydration. If a child develops heat cramps, he or she might complain of intense pain and muscle contractions. When this heat-related illness progresses to heat exhaustion, children may complain of stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Heatstroke may be indicated by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, weakness, and headache.

Problems Parents May Notice

Children may not always let their parents know if they’re experiencing unusual symptoms. While watching your child play, observe him or her for unusual irritability, boredom, and fatigue. These symptoms, along with an inability to run as fast as usual, may indicate dehydration. If your child develops heat exhaustion, you may notice that he or she has impaired coordination, excessive sweating, or pale skin. Children may also faint from heat exhaustion. If you observe possible signs of heatstroke, you’ll need to call 911 immediately for emergency care. These signs may include seizures, confusion, irrational behavior, rapid breathing, fast heart rate, combativeness, and emotional instability.

West Hills Hospital is your partner in wellness. Our physicians and other staff members provide exceptional emergency care, spine care, burn treatment, and cancer care, just to name a few of our service lines. For a referral to a specialist at our community hospital, residents of the West Hills area can call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (818) 676-4000.

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