Recognizing the Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness in Your Child


Heat-related illness occurs when the body’s temperature gets too high. Body temperature can be affected by the temperature of the air and by level of physical activity. To protect your child from heat-related illness, follow the tips on this sheet.

What are the symptoms of heat-related illness?
Heat-related illness can range in symptoms from mild (heat cramps), to moderate (heat exhaustion), to severe (heat stroke).


Mild: heat cramps

Sweating a lot

Having painful spasm in muscles during activity or hours later (heat cramps)

Developing tiny red bumps on skin and a prickly sensation (heat rash or prickly heat)

Feeling irritable, dizzy, or weak


Moderate: heat exhaustion

Sweating a lot

Having cold, moist, pale, or flushed skin

Feeling very weak or tired

Having headache, nausea, loss of appetite

Having rapid or weak pulse

Having painful muscle cramps


Severe: heat stroke

NOTE: If your child has symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 or take your child to the emergency department right away.

Not sweating

Having hot, dry skin that looks red, gray, or bluish

Having deep, fast breathing

Having headache or nausea

Having rapid, weak, or irregular pulse

Feeling dizzy, confused, or delirious

Fainting

Having convulsions or other shaking movements

How is heat-related illness treated?
If your child has symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 911 or take your child to the nearest emergency department. You can also start treatment yourself by doing the following: 

Remove your child from the heat, direct sun, or warm air that is causing the illness.

Give your child cold fluids, such as water, to drink to prevent dehydration. Infants can be given a children’s electrolyte solution. If your child won't drink fluids, or has more serious signs of heat-related illness, IV fluids may be needed.

Apply cool compresses on your child’s forehead, neck, and underarms.

Use a fan to blow cool air onto your child’s skin.

Give your child a bath in cool water to bring down body temperature. Make sure the water is not too cold.

Give your child over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to treat pain and fever.  Do not give ibuprofen to an infant 6 months of age or less, or to a child who is dehydrated or constantly vomiting. Do not give aspirin to a child with a fever. This can put your child at risk of a serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.

How is heat-related illness prevented?
You can do the following to prevent your child from getting heat-related illness:

Give your child plenty of fluids to drink.

Dress your child in appropriate clothing for the weather.

Have your child rest and take breaks during exercise or physical activity.

On hot days, also do the following:

Keep your child indoors or in shaded or cool areas.

Give your child more fluids than usual.

Spray cool water on your child to keep him or her cool.

Dress your child in fewer layers and loose fitting clothing. Have your child wear a hat or a visor.
Tags:  heat stroke   children  
 
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