For states like Texas that have hot, humid summers, weather impacts more than personal comfort. It’s easy to let your kids run wild outdoors and swim all day at the pool, but with temperatures reaching over 100°F, you should take proper precautions so you and your children don’t wind up in the ER. If your child is off to summer camp, make sure you talk to camp supervisors and instructors about what precautions they have in place to prevent the following:
1. Heat Stroke
You would think that heat would cause you to sweat more, but prolonged exposure to extreme heat can cause problems with the body’s ability to regulate temperature and maintain homeostasis. Did you know that your body’s ability to sweat is actually the first thing to shut down during prolonged heat exposure? Your body needs to sweat to cool itself down, and many other processes begin to shut down when this system fails. So, if your body cannot cool down and your temperature rises to 104℉ or higher, you will need to be taken to the ER to prevent organ damage from heat stroke. Heat stroke can be particularly dangerous for children, who may have trouble identifying the symptoms and seeking help. Parents and camp counselors need to limit the amount of time a child is out in the sun to ensure summer safety.
It’s great to hang outside in the summer, but if the temperature reaches 90°F or higher, your body will lose water pretty quickly—half a gallon of water every ten minutes to be exact. Besides lethargy, dizziness, and nausea, dehydration can lead to many serious health conditions. Additionally, children may forget to drink while they play. Always keep a sports bottle nearby and remind them to drink frequently to prevent dehydration.
3. Breathing Difficulties
Heat and humidity can also make it hard to breathe, especially for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions. What can you do if you can’t control the heat? Start by avoiding frequent transitions from hot to cool, or cool to hot. Keeping your environment consistent and your medication handy will also help prevent an asthma emergency. Summer safety also involves teaching asthmatic children how to use their rescue inhalers and training children to take their inhalers with them wherever they go.
Skin protection is critical for fun in the sun. To help you choose the right SPF, read our blog here. Remember, you can still catch sunburn on an overcast day. Wearing a hat and staying in the shade when possible can also help to protect your skin. Remember, it doesn’t matter what your skin tone is—everyone is susceptible to sunburn. The best way to train your children to use sunscreen is to make sure they always have sunscreen on hand. Make sure they apply sunscreen at least thirty minutes before they go outside and then reapply according to the SPF you choose.