Acclimating Your Child to the Heat May Help Protect Them from Dehydration

It’s the middle of the summer, the days are long with temperatures reaching record highs, and your children are gearing-up for outdoor school sports and activities. Dangerous temperatures can mean dehydration and other heat-related illnesses.
Scott & White pediatrician, Daniel Ransom, MD offers some tips to help parents protect their children while playing in the heat.

“Make sure they drink plenty of fluids- even if they are not thirsty,” Dr. Ransom said, “rotate drinking water with electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade.”

Dehydration is common in youth sports, and if your child is complaining of being thirsty, they may already be losing fluids.

Riding bikes, swimming, washing cars or playing in the backyard can help get your child active outside and used to the heat, the pediatrician said.

Gradually increase the amount of activity your child does each day. It may take up to two weeks for your kids to become acclimated to the heat.

“Dressing your kids in clothing that is breathable; light-colored, lightweight and loose fitting is also a good idea,” Dr. Ransom said.

Encourage your child to know the symptoms of dehydration.

“It is important to talk to your kids about dehydration so they will know when to take a break,” Dr. Ransom said. Tell your child not be afraid to speak-up to their coach if they feel any symptoms of dehydration.

Inform your child of the following symptoms:
● Dry mouth
● Thirst
● Headache
● Fatigue
● Dizziness
● Cramps
● Nausea
● Confusion

Dehydration can lead to serious illnesses; heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Prevention is the key to staying hydrated. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids before, during and after practice.

“Invest in a reusable water bottle,” Dr. Ransom said, “so that your child always has something to drink during outdoor activities.”

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