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18th Jun 2023

Heatstroke: The “silent” symptoms you should know for your children

Ellen Fitzpatrick

While the weather has been a little bit temperamental this weekend, the last few weekends has seen absolutely phenomenal temperatures – but it comes with risks for our children.

We’ve spoken about the need for SPF and the risks associated with UV rays for our children but there is another we need to be aware of.

The high temperatures can have an impact on your child’s health and the danger of heatstroke is one to watch out for.

Heatstroke is usually caused by hot weather or exercise, usually starting with heat exhaustion. This usually does not need emergency help if you can cool them down within 30 minutes, the NHS says.

If heat exhaustion turns into heatstroke, that’s when it needs to be treated.

With the signs of heat stroke not as obvious in children, this is what you can do to watch out for it in your youngster.

When checking for heat exhaustion first, children are usually tired, irritable or bad-tempered.

According to the HSE, other signs of heat exhaustion can include:

  • intense thirst
  • weakness or fainting
  • cramps in the arms, legs or stomach
  • no appetite, feeling sick or vomiting
  • complaining of a headache
  • sweating a lot
  • pale clammy skin
  • temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius (but less than 40 degrees Celsius)

To cool down your child, you can bring them indoors to the shade or air conditioned room. You can also ensure any unnecessary clothing is taken off and then sponge their skin with cool water, or using cold packs on their neck and armpits.

You also must give them cold fluids, ensuring they are hydrated. Water is the best option, with caffeine being important to avoid.

When it comes to heatstroke, the HSE says: “Your child can get heatstroke if they are not able to cool their body down. Their body can get hotter and hotter. This causes their temperature to rise.

“In severe cases, this can cause brain damage. If your child has heatstroke they need to get emergency treatment quickly. Treatment will help to bring their temperature down.

“Heat exhaustion and heatstroke can happen indoors as well as outdoors. Any environment that is too warm can lead to these conditions, including in a car or near a window on a hot day.”


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