Monday, July 18, 2011

Keeping Your Kids Cool, Even When the Temperatures are Not

It’s no question that kids are more active outdoors during the summer months, but keeping them safe and healthy when temperatures soar is essential. This week, temperatures are supposed to get near 100 degrees, and with humidity- it will feel closer to 110-115. It goes without saying that if keeping the kids busy indoors is an option, this week is the week to do it. But if summer sports or activities is unavoidable, here are some tips for keeping them safe and healthy.

1. Make sure they’re hydrating with all the right stuff. Avoid sugary drinks and soda on hot days, and really push for your kids to drink water. On average, kids should drink half their body weight in ounces of water daily, regardless of temperature. If your child is burning calories and energy, then replenishing their electrolytes from sweating is also very important. Gatorade has a lot of extra sugar and artificial colors, so I recommend a more natural alternative like Endura from Metagenics. Endura is a powder form of electrolyte replenisher that has much less sugar and artificial additives in it. Blue Hills Chiropractic carries it in orange and lemon-lime flavors. If your child refuses to drink the amount of fluids recommended, then feeding them foods with high amounts of water in them is the next best thing. Watermelon and cucumbers are examples of foods that can contribute to their water intake.

2. Wear light colored, breathable fabrics. These fabrics will allow them to cool their bodies naturally by sweating, and will absorb less sunlight.

3. Apply sunscreen every 1-2 hours. Serious burns earlier in life are much more damaging. Keep them safe by applying sunscreen regularly, even if it says “water proof” or that it lasts for hours. Check out important safety information on sunscreen at the following website:

Blue Hills Chiropractic carries Loving Naturals sunscreen, which is an organic sunscreen that is highly rated in the link above.

4. Watch for signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion. Fatigue and irritability are some of the earliest signs of dehydration. More serious and advanced signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion are increased body temperature (101 and higher), increased thirst and sweating, nausea and vomiting, and cold, clammy skin. Signs of heat stroke are body temperatures of 105 or higher, the child has stopped producing sweat, rapid heartbeat and breathing, and flushed, hot, dry skin.

At the first sign of dehydration or heat exhaustion, remove the child from outdoors and take them to a cool and shaded area. Give cool fluids, and put ice or cool moist cloth on front of neck. If the child does not start recovering within 5-10 min, it may be serious enough to call the hospital. 

Following the above tips will help keep you and your family safe during the heat wave. Remember, that although this week may not be the best time to teach the kids how to ride a bike or catch a baseball, it's a great time to play in the sprinkler and eat ice cream with them!

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