Adults And Children Looking For Relief In Heat

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - East Tennesseans are getting a sample of the hot days of summer ahead.

With temperature topping out in the 90's, we're all at risk for dehydration and heat illness, but children are at particular risk.

The same things that put you at risk for dehydration, put your children at risk, as well.

The difference is, a child's body surface area makes up a much greater proportion of his overall weight than an adults, which means children face a much greater risk of dehydration and heat-related illness.

Dr. Randy Pardue says, "if it's extremely hot, and they're playing hard outdoors, very frequent fluids. Up to four glasses of fluids in an hour if it's real hot and they're playing real hard."

But Dr. Pardue says if kids wait to drink until they feel thirsty, they're already dehydrated.

Thirst doesn't really kick in until a child has lost two percent of his or her body weight as sweat.

"Lots of water, but also if they're sweating a lot and playing hard, they need to have the sports drinks like Propel, Gatorade, those kinds of things that add some electrolytes."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends five ounces of cold tap water or sports drink for a child weighing 88 pounds, and nine ounces for a teen weighing 132 pounds.

If your child begins to experience the symptoms of a heat illness, the first thing you should do is get him or her out of the sun, and into a cool, comfortable place.

Have the child drink cool fluids and take off any excess layers of clothing.

And use cool water on overheated skin.

Dr. Pardue continues, "the best thing is cold water. Even if it's a hose, if there's a way to get them into a shower or bath tub, but just cool the body off."

And monitor your child, if he or she doesn't improve or can't take fluids see a doctor.

Some children are more prone to dehydration and heat illness than others.

Some factors that can put your child at greater risk include obesity, recent illness and use of antihistamines or diuretics.

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