Our bodies create a lot of heat. Normally, they're cooled through sweating and by heat radiating through the skin.
But in very hot weather, high humidity, and other conditions, this natural cooling system may begin to fail, letting heat in the body build to dangerous levels. The can cause heat illness, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke.
What Are Heat Cramps?
Heat cramps are brief, painful muscle cramps in the legs, arms, or belly that can happen during or after vigorous exercise in extreme heat. Sweating during the intense physical activity causes the body to lose salts and fluids. This low level of salts likely causes the muscles to cramp.
a raised body temperature, but less than 104°F (40°C)
What to Do:
Bring your child to a cooler place indoors, an air-conditioned car, or shady area.
Remove your child's excess clothing.
Encourage your child to drink water or cool fluids containing salt and sugar, such as sports drinks.
Put a cool, wet cloth or cool water on your child's skin.
Call your doctor for advice. A child who is too exhausted or ill to drink might need treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids.
If left untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into heatstroke, a much more serious illness.
What Is Heatstroke?
The most severe form of heat illness is heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency.
In heatstroke, the body cannot regulate its own temperature. Body temperature can soar to 106°F (41.1°C) or even higher, leading to brain damage or even death if it isn't quickly treated. Quick medical care is needed to bring the body temperature under control.
Kids are at risk for heatstroke if they overdress or do intense physical activity in hot weather without drinking enough liquids.
Heatstroke also can happen when a child is left in, or gets trapped in, a car on a hot day. When the outside temperature is 93°F (33.9°C), the temperature inside a car can reach 125°F (51.7°C) in just 20 minutes, quickly raising body temperature to dangerous levels.
What to Do:
Call for emergency medical help if your child has been outside in extreme temperatures or another hot environment and shows one or more of these symptoms of heatstroke: