Keep kids safe from heat-related illness this summer
BATON ROUGE - Now that summer is officially under way, reports of heat-related illness and deaths are on the rise as early afternoon temperatures edge toward the highest they will be all year.
Dr. Mindy Calandro stopped by WBRZ News 2 at 4 Thursday to provide some advice on how to spot the signs of heat-related illness in children.
She said exposure to too much heat starts off with heat exhaustion, and can lead to a potentially deadly heat stroke if measures aren't taken to cool the person down. Heat exhaustion symptoms include excessive sweating, clammy skin, irritability and nausea.
Heat stroke is the more severe heat-related illness and its signs are more noticeable, including confusion, no sweating, fainting, rapid breathing and possible seizures.
Dr. Calandro said parents should make sure children drink lots of fluid, including water and sports drinks that contain salt and sugar to prevent dehydration. Children should also take breaks and come indoors about every 30 to 60 minutes to allow themselves to cool off, and can use use a misting fan, sprinkler or water hose to stay cool while playing outside. Parents can also encourage children to wear light-colored, loose-fitting and breathable clothing when outdoors, and also discourage strenuous physical activity during the hottest part of the day.
Calandro also pointed out that one of the biggest concerns for parents is accidentally locking children in the family vehicle. The enclosed space can cause the rapid onset of serious symptoms that could set in before help arrives to unlock the car. To avoid this, Dr. Calandro recommends keeping the child's diaper bag or lunch box in the front seat with you as a reminder of the precious cargo in the backseat. She also said putting your cell phone, purse or briefcase in the backseat with the child could be a move that potentially saves a life.