Health experts warn that heat related illness can sneak up on children. Knowing how to recognize if your child has been outside too long by looking for warning signs like sleepiness or dizziness, could save lives.
Huntsville Pediatric Physician Dr. Juan Carlos Abanses advised parents to keep in mind that children five and under have higher risk of suffering from the heat. "They can dehydrate a lot easier and that's our biggest risk. They also have a bigger body surface area, and so with that, they can dehydrate more and have more effect from the sun," Abanses said.
The best thing to do when temperatures climb over 100 degrees is to find indoor activities for your child, but if you are going to play outside don't do it in the hottest part of the day. "Maybe if they are going to go outside and play, try to do it more in the mornings or in the afternoons and maybe not in the midday sun," Abanses warns.
Breanna Burt worries about the heats affect on her one year old. She plans to be smart about limiting his time in the sun this weekend. "He has asthma so he could have asthma attacks. His skin will bump up and he gets heat rashes and stuff. To keep him cool, if we get too hot, I'll either give him a cool bath, or we stay in the house or I bring him out here and let him play."
Parents also need to be smart when it comes to leaving a child with a family member or baby sitter. Make sure you talk to them about how long they are allowed in the sun and tell them what signs to watch for to know if your child has had too much sun.
"If you start seeing that they are getting sleepy, if they are getting nauseous or light headed, if they start having headaches, those are kind of the beginning warning factors," Abanses said.
If you notice that your child has stopped sweating or looks dry that's a sign of heat stroke, what Dr. Abanses said is a big worry right now for the pediatric ER.
"Hopefully we wont have any heat strokes, that's why we are on the air trying to talk about it. We try to prevent it but each year, every year, we seem to have at least one or two kids come in with heat stroke, and if there is going to be a weekend to have it, its going to be this weekend."
Since Wednesday several children have been admitted to the Huntsville Pediatric ER with heat exhaustion.