Here's how to spot the signs of heat exhaustion in kids, PLUS how to cool your little one down | Living and LovingLiving and Loving

Here’s how to spot the signs of heat exhaustion in kids, PLUS how to cool your little one down

If your child complains of nausea and having a headache after spending most of the day playing outside, she could have heat exhaustion.


It’s summer holidays and kids love nothing more than to splash and play in the water and run around with their friends all day. While it’s great that they’re spending time outdoors, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing – especially when it’s really hot outside.

In hot weather, especially the very warm conditions most parts of South Africa experience during December, a child’s internal temperature can rise and cause heat exhaustion, which can progress to heat stroke if not treated quickly.

Look out for these signs and symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-coloured urine (sign of dehydration) Read more about the signs of dehydration here .
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Treating heat exhaustion

  • If your child shows signs of heat exhaustions, get him inside and out of the heat to rest immediately, preferably in an air-conditioned room. If you can’t get inside, find the nearest cool shady place to rest.
  • Make sure your little one drinks plenty of fluids.
  • Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing.
  • Give him a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.

If the above mentioned strategies doesn’t seem to help after 15 minutes, seek medical help. Untreated heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke

Preventing heat exhaustion

Stay indoors in a cool room, but if you have to go outside take the following precautions:

  • Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose fitting clothing.
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Drink extra fluids. Because heat exhaustion can also result from salt depletion, it may be advisable to substitute an electrolyte-rich sports drink for water during periods of extreme heat and humidity.

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