The increase in temperatures, days at the beach or outdoor activities during the summer mean that we must increase precautions so that young children do not suffer the consequences of heat stroke. For that reason, Dr. Federico Gentile, a pediatrician at Hospiten Rambla University Hospital, shares some guidelines to prevent, recognize and treat the condition and safely enjoy the summer.
Heat stroke is a sudden rise in body temperature due to prolonged exposure to the sun, high temperatures or intense physical exercise, which will cause loss of hydration. Children under 4 years of age, and especially babies under 1, are the most likely to suffer from heat stroke because they have lower fluid reserves, and their body temperature rises faster than that of adults. Also, keep in mind that the respiratory system of children under 2 years of age has not yet fully developed.
It is very important to recognize the first symptoms to be able to act accordingly and avoid more serious consequences. Dr. Gentile explains that dehydration, fever, dizziness, fainting, vomiting, exhaustion and weakness are the main signs that children may be suffering from heat stroke. They may also show signs of headaches, irritability or muscle cramps.
To prevent these attacks, Dr. Gentile recommends avoiding activities that involve physical exertion or sunbathing during the hottest hours of the day. In addition, drinking plenty of water and preparing light meals is also essential to acclimatize children’s bodies to summer temperatures. When playing outdoors, whether on the beach or any other outdoor spaces, it is not only recommended children should wear hats but they should also be kept in the shade of a beach umbrella, have frequent baths or kept cool with damp cloths.
However, if unavoidable heat stroke occurs, it is advisable to take the child to a cool place and offer them water in small doses, but not frozen. And if the child is dressed, any excess clothing should be removed so the child can be as cool as possible. Finally, if the symptoms do not improve after hydration, a doctor must be called immediately.