Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a more severe heat illness than heat cramps. It can occur when a child in a hot climate or environment has not been drinking enough fluids. A child can lose up to a quart of sweat during a two-hour sports game, and children are more susceptible to dehydration and heat exhaustion than adults; active children who do not drink enough are most at risk.

Symptoms Symptoms can include dehydration, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, rapid breathing, or irritability.

Treatment The child should rest in a cool area, drink fluids, and be encouraged to eat. Clothing should be loosened or removed, and the child should be sponged with cool (not cold) water. A doctor should be called for more advice.

If the child is too exhausted or ill to eat or drink, intravenous fluids may be necessary. If left untreated, heat exhaustion may escalate into heatstroke, which can be fatal.

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