The summer heat has been grueling, and dealing with it can be a major concern for athletes, diabetics, and seniors. Adults and children are also at greater risk and may not know it.
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children, according to University Health. Leaving a child alone in a car can lead to serious injury or death from heatstroke. Even on a mild, 70-degree day, the temperature inside of a car can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.
Heat-related illnesses can be prevented, but education is key to understanding what symptoms to look for and how to react quickly.
Reducing this type of health threat requires the involvement and support of the entire community.
According to Dr. Steven Moore, Emergency Medicine, University Health & UT Health San Antonio, these are the symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
- Dizziness and confusion
- Loss of appetite or feeling sick
- Excessive sweating and clammy skin, cramps
- Fast breathing or pulse
- A high body temperature and being very thirsty are possible symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke
If you are experiencing heat exhaustion, stop all activity and rest, Moore said. Move to a cooler place and drink cool water or sports drinks. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that needs prompt attention by a medical professional.
To prevent heat illness, Moore says to stay hydrated, take breaks from the heat by seeking out shade, and never leave a child, senior adult, or pet in a car unattended.
University Health pediatric safety partner, Safe Kids Worldwide, developed a program to reduce the number of pediatric deaths from heatstroke through an acronym, ACT:
A – Avoid leaving your child alone in a vehicle.
C – Create drop-off reminders by putting an item in the back seat you will need at your final destination, such as your purse, briefcase, or cell phone.
T – Take immediate action if you see a child alone in a car.
For more information, you can visit University Health’s website.