Protect your child from the Texas heat with these tips

As students prepare for school in Tarrant County, more than 100 degree days persist with heat advisories continuing to be issued by the National Weather Service each week.

This year, MedStar responded to a total of 667 heat-related patients between May 1 and August 3, an increase of 346 cases from the same time last year.

Texas Health continues to see hundreds of heat-related patients this summer, with 169 cases in June and 277 cases in July.

June, July, and August are typically the times emergency departments see the most heat-related illnesses in Texas.

From soccer practice to music to recess, here are tips to protect your student from heat-related illness as school begins in August.

How long can my student stay outside in the heat?

Texas Health officials said heat illness can occur within 20 to 30 minutes depending on conditions and activity level. Heatstroke, the most serious heat-related illness, occurs when body temperature reaches 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr Andrew Morris, associate medical director of emergency medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, said being dehydrated, poorly conditioned for activity or having an infection can make healthy people prone to heart disease. heat.

When students begin to feel unwell from the heat, they should tell someone and go to the shade or an air-conditioned space. Younger students need adult supervision when in the heat and to be encouraged to drink more fluids even when not thirsty.

Because high temperatures, humidity and excessive sweating can be dangerous, athletes should hydrate before their activities, Morris said.

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Registered nurse Anita Rigues helps cyclist Evonne Luddeka cool off after overheating during the Peach Pedal Bike Ride in Weatherford, Texas on Saturday, July 9, 2022. Madeleine Cook mcook@star-telegram.com

Know the Difference: Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses large amounts of water and salt through excessive sweating, especially through heavy physical labor or exercise. Symptoms include muscle cramps, paleness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. According to MedStar, children and the elderly are especially susceptible.

If you or someone you know is suffering from heat exhaustion, the National Weather Service advises that you move to a cooler location, loosen your clothing, and drink cool water. If symptoms do not improve, see a doctor.

Heatstroke occurs when the body suffers from long, intense exposure to heat and loses its ability to cool itself. This is a potentially fatal problem. According to MedStar, common signs of heat stroke include confusion, vomiting, impaired sweating, hot, red skin, rapid heart rate, decreased sweating, shortness of breath, decreased urination, increased body temperature or even seizures.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency – if you or someone you know begins to experience symptoms of heatstroke, call 911 immediately.

What are the ways to keep my student safe during outdoor activities?

Whether it’s sports or recreation, here are some safety tips from Texas Health officials.

  • Never participate in activities in the heat alone.
  • Hydrate with 10 to 16 ounces of water about 30 minutes before beginning outdoor activities.
  • Wear light-colored, breathable clothing.
  • If you start to feel sick in the heat, go somewhere cool and hydrate yourself.
  • Protect your skin with a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • During outdoor practices, students should drink at least 4-8 ounces of water every 20 minutes. During activities longer than about an hour or if excessive sweating occurs, add a sports drink to help replace electrolytes. Rehydrate after training.

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Megan Cardona is a duty reporter at the Star-Telegram, covering politics, government programs, community resources and more to help residents navigate daily life in Tarrant County and North Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2020, where she worked at the campus newspaper, The Shorthorn, for two years.

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