Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are caused by exercising or playing in a hot, humid environment where the body becomes dehydrated. This is especially common in humid regions like the Greater Houston area, where water loss and dehydration can be extremely rapid. If heat exhaustion progresses to heat stroke, it can be fatal.
Consider these tips to keep your children cool during outside play:
- Have children wear lightweight, bright-colored clothing to help prevent overheating during outdoor activities.
- Try to limit strenuous activities and sun exposure to early morning and evening and avoid the hottest part of the day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Teach children to drink plenty of fluids before and during any activity in hot, sunny weather. Parents should be proactive about encouraging children to drink to stay hydrated – well before they become very thirsty. Be sure that the fluids contain some small amounts of electrolytes as well. You can purchase ready-made liquid or powdered electrolytes to add to water. Make sure to keep these sugar-free to limit excess calories.
- Teach children playing outdoors to take frequent small breaks to cool down and hydrate to avoid becoming overheated.