Summer Day Fun #3

Summer can be the setting for disaster from water and sun if you do not take precautions.  I will highlight a different potential summer danger once a week during June.

Sometimes we like to play at the park and some kids will soon start sports practice for school, but beware of exercise in hot weather.

Danger #3

Exercise-Related Heat Illness (ERHI):

EHRI occurs when the weather is very hot or very humid and the child or teen is doing exercise or playing sports. When you exercise, your muscles produce more heat, so even in a cool environment, you will start to feel warmer with exercise.  Sweating helps cool the body down, but if you don’t sweat appropriately or aren’t replacing the fluids lost in sweat, your body will be unable to get rid of the excess heat, resulting in ERHI.  Children tend to be at a greater risk for developing EHRI.

Here are some of the signs of EHRI and the progression that can happen if precautions are not implemented:

Type of EHRI



Heat cramps

  • Painful muscle contractions, usually in the legs.
  • Normal body temperature
  • Sweating is normal
  •  Stop exercising & stretch affected muscle
  • Drink Gatorade or another salt-replacement fluid

Heat Exhaustion

  • Body temperature increases up to 104° F
  • Child feels tired; experiences nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting.
  • Skin is flushes, but moist
  • Stop exercising
  • Move to shaded, cool area
  • Drink Gatorade or other electrolyte replacement fluid
  • If child unable to drink—take to nearest ER

Heat Stroke

  • Body temperature is greater than 104° F
  • Child is combative & confused, experiencing seizures or is unresponsive after fainting
  • Skin is flushed, hot and dry—no sweat
  •  Call 911—this is life threatening
  • Cool the child’s body down immediately in any way possible (air conditioned room, cool cloths, ice packs, etc)



Tips to prevent EHRI:

  • Schedule activities at cooler parts of the day (early morning or late afternoon)
  • Consider cancelling or postponing events if the day is extremely hot or extremely humid
  • Kids/teens should gradually adjust to exercising by increasing activities slowly over the first 2 weeks of practice
  • Dress appropriately for the weather—do not use excess clothing or equipment
  • Schedule breaks every 10-15 minutes so children can drink liquids to stay hydrated—4-8 ounces should be drunk at each break
  • Cold water and sports drinks should be available before, during and after every activity




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