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Does your kid insist on playing outdoors in summer? Here's how you can protect him from heat stroke.
The sun is shining brightly in the sky even as I am writing this article. At times, even adults don't realise that they can get dehydrated. The effect of the sun on little children is even worse.
Summer has been exceptionally hot over the past few years. Children are exposed to heat rather unnecessarily. In schools, the practice for sports day takes place in open grounds under the unrelenting sun during this season. And, during vacations, parents enrol kids in classes for football, tennis, etc., where again they are exposed to the sun. Summer is a time for vacations and playing outdoors is natural and necessary. But, it's the duty of parents to make sure that their kids are not exposed to extreme temperatures and heat-related illnesses.
Children are at a higher risk for developing heat-related illnesses than adults because of several reasons.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency when the core body temperature is more than 104 F/40 C. This damages different organs of the body and, at times, proves fatal.
Loss of consciousness or altered behaviour, convulsions and dry, hot skin.
These simple techniques will help children stay safe this summer and prevent being affected by sun stroke:
If a child develops any of these symptoms, move him to a cooler environment at once, cool the body with a fan, remove excess clothing, or place ice over the groin/axilla (underarm). Provide the child with plenty of fluids/oral rehydration solutions.
If the child vomits or develops signs of clouding of consciousness, rush the child to a nearby hospital where emergency medicine and intravenous fluids can be administered and the child can be monitored closely.
(The author is a child specialist at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai.)
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