Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

When the weather gets very hot children are at risk of heat exhaustion and, in more serious cases, heat stroke.

Signs and Symptoms

  • dizziness, fainting, fatigue, nausea
  • may have raised temperature and perspiration
  • thirsty, or may not be thirsty
  • irritable, crying

Heat exhaustion is caused by the body overheating due to excessive heat, for example, from being in too much sun, or doing too much exercise while in the sun or an extra warm room. The first thing to do is get the child into a cool, shaded place, preferably indoors. Lay them down, remove most of their clothing, and have them sip water continuously. If you can add a little salt and sugar to the water, dissolving well, that will help.

If nothing else is available, put a cool, wet cloth on your child’s face, and another on the back of their neck. Refresh the cloths when they heat up. If the child sleeps, that will also help revive them.

Cooling a body down too rapidly is as bad as not cooling it down at all. If you try to cool someone down too quickly they can go into shock. If you use one of the traditional cooling down methods, like compresses or sponging, use cool water – never use ice cold water.

Cooling Compress Method

Dab a tiny smear of lavender on the back of the child’s neck, on the diaphragm solar plexus area {above the belly button}, and on both temples, being sure to avoid the eye area.

Put a cool, damp compress or cloth over the back of your child’s neck, and cover their body with a light sheet.

Essential Oils That Help

When to Get Help

Get medical help if your child’s temperature is 101 degrees F or over, or if their body has not cooled down after 30 minutes.

Prevention

In hot weather:

  • Make sure your child is always wearing a hat, and their shoulders are covered.
  • Keep your child out of the sun as much as possible.
  • Make sure your child has plenty to drink. Water is the best.

If running or doing sports:

  • Make sure your child has periods of rest. If you’re out in the sun, bring them into the shade, and cool them down.
  • Make sure your child has plenty to drink. Water is the best.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke can be life-threatening and immediate medical help must be sought. Move the child out of the heat and into the shade right away. While waiting for help to arrive, try to get started lowering the body’s temperature. With heat stroke, the body’s heat regulation system has stopped working and caused the body temperature to rise. It can happen in extreme heat when the body fails to adjust to the high temperature, the sweat glands fail to function properly, and the body cannot cool itself down.

Signs and Symptoms

  • red hot skin – could be sweaty, or dry
  • high temperature
  • dizziness, headache, vomiting
  • drowsiness – could lead to confusion and unconsciousness
  • the child could have the sensation of being cold, and shiver
  • rapid pulse
  • body aches and muscular cramps

If possible immerse the child’s body in cool to tepid water – not cold. Sponge water over the body. Alternatively, stand the child in a luke-warm shower, and gradually reduce the temperature of the water until it’s cool – but not cold. Use any available cool water, even a garden hose – but make the water a very fine spray by applying thumb pressure over the hose exit-hole; and have the child sit down.

Use whatever means you have available to continuously cool the child. Wrap them in cool, wet sheets. If there is a fan at hand, fan the child’s face. Cool the child with these different methods, until their temperature is down to 99 degrees. Then cover them with a dry bed sheet. Throughout the cooling process, give them small sips of cool water.

Baths and Sponging

Use cool – not cold – water, and add ;

Sponge the body down with cool to tepid water. Put 1 drop eucalyptus radiata on a sponge, then fill the sponge with water. Start sponging the back of the body first, starting at the back of the neck. Do not sponge the face.

When to Get Help

Get help immediately if you suspect your child has heat stroke. In the meantime, while waiting for help to arrive, try to start getting the temperature lowered.

Prevention

In hot weather:

  • Make sure your child is always wearing a hat and their shoulders are covered.
  • Keep your child out of the sun as much as possible.
  • Make sure your child has plenty to drink. Water is the best.

If running or doing sports:

  • Make sure your child has periods of rest. If you’re out in the sun, bring them into the shade, and cool them down.
  • Make sure your child has plenty to drink. Water is the best.

Dehydration

The body is made up of 80 percent water, which helps to move vital nutrients around the body. When the body is starved of water we quickly deteriorate. When a child vomits, has diarrhea, or a fever, precious fluids are being lost and dehydration can result.

The most obvious reason a child becomes dehydrated is that they have not been drinking enough. Pure water is by far the best liquid for children, and they do like it if offered. Pure fruit juice is sugar-laden, but it can be diluted with water. Other drinks contain artificial sweeteners; caffeine, and chemicals for color, preservatives, and flavor that aren’t exactly known for doing the body any good.

Dehydration is serious! Any child vomiting and diarrhea should be given immediate medical help, both to help rid the body of whatever infection is causing these symptoms, and to get the right levels of fluid back into the body.

Signs and Symptoms

  • dry lips and mouth
  • vomiting or diarrhea that lasts more than 5 hours
  • drowsiness, sleepiness
  • the urine may be dark and smelly – when it becomes clearer, that’s a good sign

If your child gets dehydrated, for whatever reason, give them frequent sips of water, even if it passes straight through them. If no water is available, give them whatever fluid you have.

If you are taking your child camping or hiking, or for some other reason away from a city with medical facilities, make sure you carry the crucial ingredients of a dehydration fluid, just in case the child gets sick while away. Don’t even think about cutting out the sugar or glucose – that’s needed to help with the absorption of salt.

Dehydration Drink

Sip one glass at a time.

  • 1-pint water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons glucose powder {or 6 teaspoons sugar}

Stir until dissolved. Add a little fruit juice if the child refuses to drink the dehydration mix on its own.

Other Care

Make your child sip drinks as drinking too quickly may cause your child’s stomach to reject the liquid. “Little and often” is the rule for dehydration. Don’t allow your child to get overheated.

When to Get Help

As soon as you can!