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
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
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
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: