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1 January, 2021

Cool Kids In Summer

KIDS do not always know how to tell us when they are feeling hot despite being more susceptible to hot weather, so it is vitally important parents are able to recognise signs of heat stress early.

By Nicole Gibson

As summer kicks in and beaches, backyard barbeques and reef and rainforest retreats are high on the agenda, a local paediatrician wants to help Cairns families prevent heat related illnesses.

Dr Arno Ebner, affectionately known to his tiny patients as Dr Arno, has outlined the key signs parents need to look out for.

He said heat exhaustion is a precursor to heat stroke which is life threatening so it is extremely important to recognise the signs early.

“Typical early symptoms include dizziness, mild confusion, vomiting, headaches, weakness, thirst and elevated heart rate.”

“Flushing in the face and heat rash with tiny bumps are other signs,” Dr Arno said.

For families out and about over the summer period, his top tips for keeping kids cool are:

- Always seek shade: When at the beach or even a barbeque make sure too seek shady areas.

- Avoid too much physical activity, not undertaking exhausting sports and especially not in the sun or heat of the day.

- Drink plenty of fluids. He said a good indicator of if someone is hydrated enough or not is urine colour. Light coloured urine indicates good hydration whereas dark coloured urine is associated with dehydration.

- Clothing should be light and loose and of course

- Being sun safe.

For travelling families this festive season:

- For babies in cars use a window shade to keep the sun off car seats and carriers rather than using a blanket as a cover.

- If your car is not air conditioned keep the windows down to let the breeze in.

- Keep plenty of fluid on hand and make sure little ones drink enough.

- Ice blocks are another great way to keep kids cool.

- Take regular comfort stops, ideally at airconditioned places like restaurants

- Never leave children unattended in cars.

He said it was extremely important to pick up heat exhaustion before it becomes heat stroke.

“Heat stroke is an absolutely emergency situation with a high mortality rate,” Dr Arno said.

Symptoms are similar to heat exhaustion but more severe, e.g. significant nausea, weakness, headaches, rapid breathing, loss of consciousness or seizures. If you have any concerns call an ambulance straight away.

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