How to spot heat-related illness in infants, toddlers

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 7:25 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - As intense heat continues, it’s important to make sure we’re keeping an eye on vulnerable groups like infants and toddlers.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as the planet gets warmer, heat-related illness and injury is increasing. Among those suffering, children make up almost half of the population, just over 47 percent.

Dr. Wanda Thomas with LSU Health Shreveport says it’s important for parents to pay attention because the signs can be subtle. Infants and toddlers can become increasingly fussy, irritable and may not want to be touched.

Thomas said they will physically look uncomfortable and hot to the touch. Their heart rate will also increase and they will become flushed.

”One thing that we really look at when we look at regulating body temperature is the ability to sweat, because that’s kind of how the body cools itself off. But, when infants and toddlers get overheated or too hot or hypothermic, they may actually not sweat. So, you really want to be mindful that if it’s so hot outside and the child isn’t producing sweat, isn’t really moving around or trying to get cooled off, those may be ominous signs that we’re going past overheating,” she said.

Thomas recommends limiting time outside with small children. If you need to run errands with them, she says it’s better to do them in the early or later part of the day to avoid peak temperatures.

She says often times these symptoms coincide with dehydration. Some ways to keep your children hydrated can include Pedialyte popsicles and Pedialyte or Isolyte formulas for infants. These powders have electrolytes in them that will keep kids hydrated.

Thomas said if you can’t rehydrate your child quickly enough, you should take them to the nearest emergency room.

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