HEATSTROKE; HEAT EXHAUSTION; HEAT CRAMPS (Sunstroke or Heat Prostration)
HEATSTROKE; HEAT EXHAUSTION; HEAT CRAMPS
(Sunstroke or Heat Prostration)
DESCRIPTIONHeatstroke is an illness caused by prolonged exposure to hot temperatures. The total body is involved. Appropriate health care includes: self-care after diagnosis (mild cases); physician's monitoring of general condition and medications; hospitalization to lower body temperature and provide intravenous fluids.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSSudden dizziness, weakness, faintness, and headache.
Skin that is hot and dry.
High body temperature--frequently 102F (38.9C) or higher.
Skin that is cool and moist.
Pale or gray skin color.
Low or normal body temperature.
Dark yellow or orange urine.
CAUSESHeatstroke: Failure of the body's heat-regulating mechanisms, leading to a heat buildup in the child's body. The failure may be a result of chronic illness; diabetes; blood-vessel disease; alcoholism.
Heat exhaustion: Loss of body fluids from the child sweating and failing to drink enough replacement fluid.
Sweating and inadequate fluid intake; recent illness involving fluid loss from vomiting or diarrhea; hot humid weather; working or exercising in a hot environment.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEInstructions for your child:
Wear light, loose-fitting clothing in hot weather.
Drink extra iced water if you sweat heavily. Be guided by your urine output. If the output decreases, increase your water intake.
If you become overheated, improve your ventilation. Open a window or use a fan or air conditioner. This promotes sweat evaporation, which cools the skin.
Don't take salt tablets.
Recognize early symptoms of heat illness. Reduce exercise until the symptoms disappear.
MEDICAL TESTSYour own observation of symptoms; medical history and physical exam by a doctor; laboratory studies of the child's blood and urine to measure electrolyte levels.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSShock; brain damage caused by prolonged, high body temperature (106F or 41.1C).
Prompt treatment usually brings full recovery in 1 to 2 days.
If your child has symptoms and is very hot and not sweating:
-- Cool the child rapidly. Use a cold-water bath or wrap the child in wet sheets.
-- Arrange for transportation to the nearest hospital. This is an emergency!
If your child is faint but sweating:
-- Give the child cold or iced liquids (water, soft drinks, or fruit juice). Don't give salt pills.
-- Arrange for transportation to the hospital, except in mild cases. Call your doctor for advice.
Medicine usually is not necessary for this disorder.
Your child can resume normal activity as soon as symptoms improve.
DIET & FLUIDS
Your child should drink extra fluids and eat foods high in potassium (orange juice, bananas) or take potassium supplements.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, when appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of heatstroke or heat exhaustion, or you observe them in someone else. Call immediately! These conditions may be serious or fatal.