Heat wave ups kids’ heat-stroke risks

People cool off in the Keller Fountain during a heat wave in Portland, June 29, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
People cool off in the Keller Fountain during a heat wave in Portland, June 29, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The heat wave hitting Oregon this week can be dangerous for kids, even while they’re at school and especially when they’re outdoors being active.

When temperatures near 100 degrees, kids can be at serious risk of a heat-related illness, said Providence pediatrician Dr. Annie Mack.

Providence pediatrician Dr. Annie Mack, Sept. 11, 2013 (KOIN 6 News)
Providence pediatrician Dr. Annie Mack, Sept. 11, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

“There’s certainly concern for heat stroke, so you want to make sure they’re not out during the hottest part of the day and not exercising, playing too hard, during the heat of the day,” she told KOIN 6 News.

The heat of the day is in the later part of the afternoon.

Symptoms of a heat-related illness could include irritability if a child is young and cannot verbalize what he or she is feeling. Other symptoms could be a headache or clammy skin.

“Feeling tired, light-headedness, nausea, not producing enough urine — or if they seem out of it [and are] not responding — could be a severe emergency,” Dr. Mack said.

If it is an emergency, intravenous fluids might be necessary.

But in most cases, bringing a child inside or into the shade helps. So does loosening their clothing and giving them a bath in cool — not cold — water.

“If you see signs that they look tired, start to slow down in a younger child or their mouth looks dry, definitely get them indoors to a cool place, something to drink,” she said.

In addition to water and sports drinks, Dr. Mack recommends 100% fruit-juice ice pops or fruit smoothies to cool down.

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