With school out and children all across the country on summer vacation, many kids will be spending the majority of their time outdoors either playing with friends, swimming at pools, lakes and the beach, or simply enjoying as much fun as they can under the sun. And while many parents are concerned of the harmful effects that the sun’s rays can have on our skin, many people don’t realize just how dangerous heat waves can be, too.
It doesn’t matter where you live, a major heat wave along with sweltering temperatures has made this summer almost unbearable for some to even spend less than a few minutes outdoors. Of course, a heat wave doesn’t mean that you’ll be forced to spend your summer indoors. With the proper care and precautions, families can enjoy their vacation regardless of the weather outside by taking a few steps to help prevent heat-related illness and injuries.
Sunscreen Is Essential
First and foremost, remember to always apply sunscreen before heading outdoors, and at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to any activity. If you are using a chemical sunscreen, it’s best to wait before going outside so the UV filters have time to soak into your skin. If you are using a titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, both are effective as soon as you put it on.
Don't Use A Blanket
In addition to sunscreen, try to stay in cool places and take breaks from the sun if you can. If you have a small child, don’t use a blanket as a sun blocker. By placing a blanket over your child’s stroller, it can increase a baby’s temperature drastically.
Hydrate Hydrate WATER
Also, remember to keep your family members hydrated at all times. In other words, drink plenty of water and at least eight glasses a day. A few signs of dehydration to look out for is increased thirst and dryness around the mouth, signs of fatigue, headaches, cramps, lots of sweating, fever and more. If any of these signs or symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.
Find Air Conditioning
Last but not least, make as much as of your indoor air conditioning. If you live in a home without an AC unit, try spending sometime at a nearby public library or mall. Even as little as one hour in an air conditioning room can provide some relief when you head back outdoors.
Monitor For Signs Of Heat Stroke
The sun can do more damage than just a sunburn, and it's especially easy to be on the dangerous side of the heat during a heat wave. It's important to make sure you're aware of the signs of heat stroke so you can ensure your child gets proper, and fast, care.
According to WebMD, " results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures -- usually in combination with dehydration -- which leads to failure of the body's temperature control system"
Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, hot and dry skin, lack of sweating, shallow breathing, and behavioral changes like staggering or confusion.
If your child has any of these signs during a heatwave, you need to get them immediate emergency attention by calling 911.