- Did you know that covering up your child in too many layers of clothing on a hot day could induce a heat stroke? A heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its own temperature.
- It can be life threatening since it can lead to brain damage or even death if it is not quickly treated writes, Joan Salmon.
Just because the weather has become unbearably hot does not mean you become a prisoner to avoid the heat. A sure ways to beat the heat is by educating yourself on how you can stay cool, knowing the symptoms in case you face excessive heat and what to do about it.
Shaleen, a mother of three attests to the fact the past couple of weeks have been unbearably hot.
“I actually do not remember the last time my children wore a sweater. While some have to leave early in the morning for school hence dressing up in long sleeved tops and leggings, I ensure that I pack a cotton sundress or vests and shorts for later when the weather gets hot”, she shares.
However, for the youngest child, diapers were abandoned owing to heat rash that was developing.
While everyone is complaining about the scorching heat, children seem to be the most hit.
Why children suffer most
Dr Elizabeth Kutamba Akankunda of Kids Health Haven explains that this is because the body surface to body volume ratio among children is quite high hence losing water or gaining heat faster than adults do. So in this case, they will get hot faster, which increases metabolism, the skin pores are also open hence increased sweating leading to dryness, which causes the skin to get itchy and cracks ensue owing to scratching.
Besides that, high temperatures cause excessive sweating and hence dehydration, which could lead to a heat stroke even when a child is not outdoors.
Dr Boniface Ssegujja, a paediatrician at Naalya Children’s Hospital, therefore advises parents, and guardians to ensure increased fluid intake among children.
“Give 700mls of fluids to a child below two years and one-and-a-half litres or more for that child above two years. That can increase depending on how hot, it gets,” he explains.
While many parents and caretakers think, regarding new-borns that the more the covering the better, Dr Ssegujja reveals that infants also easily get hot which could lead to a fever.
“Therefore, the fewer the clothes, the better, seeing it is extremely hot,” he says.
Dr Kutamba also advises against covering infants under thick layers because the sweating can cause heat rashes, which are itchy.
“In cases where the child has dermatitis, it is then enhanced,” she adds.
Balancing hot and cold
For school going children, sweaters might be a necessity in the mornings because it is usually chilly. However, as the heat intensifies, Dr Ssegujja advises that they be removed.
At home, it is advisable to dress them in light white clothes seeing that dark clothes absorb heat.
Emily, a mother of three, says she abandoned all heavy clothes for light dressing and in place of closed shoes, sandals are the order of the day except when going to school.
With walls absorbing a lot of heat and dispelling it during the night, their rooms are likely to be hot despite the outside being cool.
“Therefore, keep their windows open for a while to allow the rooms to cool. However, you have to be cautious about their safety too,” Dr Ssegujja says.
With the heat usually comes heat rash and these are common around the neck, groin, buttocks, and back areas. While many parents may be quick to buy one cream or the other to deal with the cosmetic look of the child, Dr Ssegujja suggests watchful waiting.
“Only when they scratch themselves, which is a common occurrence as they are irritating, should medication be applied. Nonetheless, checking in with a doctor to ensure that the rash is indeed a heat rash and nothing more is good practice,” he says.
Dr Kutamba also urges parents and guardians to guide the children on when to play, “When the temperatures are high, it is time for them to come indoors. That will reduce on the rather detrimental effects of the high temperatures”. In this case, games such as board games could be introduced in case the child desires to play indoors.