Signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in kids

Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 12:27 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Students are back in class and student athletes are back on the practice field.

Those practices take place outside, in the heat.

Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in kids is a big one but Dr. Ben Spitalnick also wants parents and coaches to know to listen to kids when they say that there’s something wrong.

Signs of heat exhaustion in kids can be fatigue, tiredness, and being out of breath.

Instead of being hot and sweaty- the child might be cool and dry.

Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke- which is when your body loses the ability to regulate temperature.

Dr. Spitalnick says heat stroke causes loss of bodily function and is very dangerous.

To prevent things from getting to that point- Dr. Spitalnick says to make sure that kids drink a liter of water for every hour of outdoor exercise, and give them lots of breaks.

If a child says they need a break take them seriously.

“As a pediatrician, and as a parent, take a child’s complaint seriously. If a child is complaining of fatigue, of muscle cramps, of exhaustion, take them seriously. Yes, there are children who try to get out of exercise, but they could be giving you signs of something seriously ill about to happen. Push fluids, let them rest, and don’t over push a child who’s complaining of signs of heat exhaustion,” Pediatrician Dr. Ben Spitalnick said.

Dr. Spitalnick adds that if a child is showing signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately.

And remember on the field isn’t the only place that kids are at risk of heat related illness.