It’s Hot! Heat Related Illness Prevention


Beach people are total wimps when it comes to the heat.  Anything over 85 degrees is like an oven to us, but we’ve had some really hot weather lately.  Our club runs a “camp” that the kids attend for two hours for four days to help them get back into the swing of things after being on break.  The field they use seems to have its own weather system and it’s been scorching there the last few days.  (You can see the ocean in the background, but it sure doesn’t feel like you’re at the beach!) Even though the camp is in the late afternoon, temperatures have been in the 90s.  I know that this is nothing compared to people who live inland in California or in most other places across the country, but hey, we’re spoiled!


Watching the kids play in the heat made me wonder about the dangers of playing when its so hot.  My trusty water bottles weren’t doing the job (each kid had to have three bottles!) and I made sure that the kids hydrated before going out to the field, but I wanted to know more information about playing in the heat.  Here’s what I found…

Heat Related Illnesses (heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke) can be very dangerous (or even fatal) for our children.  Yikes!

Symptoms of Impending Heat Illness (From this article by Susan Yeargin PhD)

  • Weakness
  • Chills
  • Goose pimples on chest and upper arms
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Faintness
  • Disorientation
  • Muscle Cramping
  • Reduced sweating

Any of these symptoms can lead to heat related illness.  Here’s some strategies to help:

  • Move the child to a cool place
  • Have child drink a sports drink to replace electrolytes
  • Place ice behind child’s head
  • Eat food with added salt (not salt tablets)
  • Call for medical attention if there is no improvement

Here’s an interesting article about sports drinks from Mom’s Team.  As with nutrition, as parents of competitive athletes we need to remember that our children have different needs than the child playing in the backyard.  Just drinking water may not be enough.

I also found an iPhone app called iHydrate that calculates the heat index at your location and provides the heat illness risk.

Hydrate your kids and keep them safe out there!!  When my kids play games in the heat, I bring frozen small towels in my cooler to wrap around their necks during any break.

Any other tips you have for beating the heat?


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