Even as our children head back-to-school, summer continues with record heat across our country. Please welcome guest contributor, Lee Flynn, as he shares Protecting Your Kids from Heat Related Illness This Summer. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
The summer sun may feel fantastic on your skin, but too much of a good thing can be dangerous for your health. Children, in particular, are vulnerable to heat related illness because of their small body size. As the summer months continue, it’s important to be aware of protective measures that you can take so that everyone enjoys the long summer days.
Wear Hats and Lightweight Clothing
According to Save the Children, wearing lightweight clothing is critical for kids and adults alike. When your skin is exposed to the sunlight for long time periods, the radiation wears on your energy levels. UV rays directly strike the skin, which leads to eventual sunburn.
Consider long-sleeve shirts and pants as a standard outfit. These items should be lightweight and airy so that the skin can breathe and sweat as necessary. Hats keep the sun’s rays off of kids’ heads, which protects their scalps from burning too. Wearing the right clothing is crucial to a fun day in the sun.
Apply Sunscreen Throughout the Day
Applying sunscreen shouldn’t be a one-time action in the morning. If kids are planning to be in the sun all day long, reapply sunscreen every two hours. The layer wears off after this time period because of movement and sweat. It doesn’t matter which SPF value is being used either.
The only exception to the two-hour rule is when kids are playing in the water. Swimming wears off sunscreen very quickly in the water, so apply more lotion after about 60 to 80 minutes. Your kids will come home with healthy tans instead of painful burns. Sunscreen is the best way to protect your skin from damage that can lead to serious illnesses later on.
Drink When You Aren’t Thirsty
Be ready with dehydrated food sets and other snacks for your day at the beach. But, your main concern should be drinking water on a consistent basis. Kids seem to have boundless energy as they run around in the sun. They won’t notice that they’re tired until heat exhaustion sets in.
Remind kids to drink water even when they’re not thirsty. Sip water throughout the day instead of drinking it in large gulps all at once. If kids are actively thirsty, they’re already dehydrated. Keep a constant supply of ice water in a cooler for those outdoor excursions. Everyone will have a good time as a result of their hydrated bodies.
Avoid Extreme Heat in the Afternoon
The simplest way to protect your kids from extreme heat this summer is by simply keeping them indoors during the hottest part of the day. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the sun is at its peak. More heat related illness occurs during this time period than any other one.
Parents can suggest games and other indoor activities for their kids. Or, children can help out around the house. Presented in just the right way, such as a game using an old toothbrush, even grout cleaning can be a fun activity for kids. After a few hours of being indoors, the kids will appreciate their time in the calmer sunlight. Morning and late-afternoon fun can still occur with diligent attention to possible heat related illness.
Be Aware of Heat Exhaustion in Children
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke have specific symptoms that are often contradictory to the situation. A person might have a pale face and feel cold to the touch. He or she may have clammy hands and a glazed look on their face. Ask the person to sit down in the shade and offer water immediately. The body focuses on maintaining the critical organs by pulling blood to the torso instead of allowing it through the limbs. Passing out is possible if the exhaustion isn’t dealt with in a swift manner.
As children return to school, the summer heat may still linger into fall. Remind your kids about smart habits in the sunlight, especially during recess. Heat exhaustion and other issues can occur in little time. With your kids seeking shade and drinking water, they can still have a good time as summer ends and fall arrives.
Lee Flynn is a freelance writer. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, healthy living, food storage techniques and self reliance. Follow him on twitter @foodstorage101. Read more articles written by Lee here: Preparing for and Surviving Blackouts.
Photos courtesy of Carole and Tiffany, Toot Sweet 4 Two.
Plus find more posts written by Lee in Toot Sweet 4 Two’s archives:
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