Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Several US states and cities have seen record breaking temperatures this summer. Doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center want to give tips to parents and guardians on how they can keep their kids safe during the hot weather.
Dr. Eric Kirkendall, Hospital Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s, explains that there are three major illnesses that heat can trigger. “Heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps are reactions caused by exposure to high temperatures combined with high humidity,” he explains. “The most serious of these is heat stroke.”
Heat stroke symptoms include hot flushed skin, high fevers (over 104° F), altered mental states such as confusion, and can be accompanied by seizures. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency and needs to be treated promptly.
Heat exhaustion is less severe, than heat stroke but is still dangerous and requires medical attention. Symptoms include pale skin; profuse sweating; nausea, dizziness, fainting, or weakness.
Heat cramps are most common in the abdomen and legs, especially the calf or thigh muscles. Tightness or hand spasms can also occur, but none of these symptoms are accompanied by a fever.
Dr. Kirkendall advises that parents and caregivers should limit outdoor play time when it is extremely hot outside to early morning or late afternoon. “Keep them well hydrated with water, and take frequent breaks to allow them to come inside and cool off,” he says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and Dr. Kirkendall give the following tips on how to keep children safe during extreme hot weather:
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation in U.S.News and World Report’s 2012 Best Children’s Hospitals ranking. It is ranked #1 for neonatology and in the top 10 for all pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at www.cincinnatichildrens.org