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Be safe while having fun in summer sun, experts say

The Eagle - 6/30/2018

Now that summer is here, area residents are urged to take precautions when spending time outdoors.

One of the biggest risks children face playing outdoors during peak summer months is being overcome by a heat-related illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, children up to age 4 are part of the highest-risk age group to be affected by heat-related illnesses. They are joined by adults aged 65 years or older, as well as adults who are overweight.

Certain medications also can put people at a greater risk.

This time of year, there are plenty of reasons why kids are out in the heat besides good old-fashioned playing.

Many schools in the area are having strength-and-conditioning courses over the summer for athletes.

At College Station High School, coach Steve Huff said more than 400 athletes are taking part in their summer program. When it comes to hydrating, Huff says water stations are available and regular breaks are scheduled.

"The kids are free to go [get water] at anytime," he said.

A&M Consolidated High School is hosting a six-week training session that works with students in grades 7 through 12.

Head football coach Lee Fedora said his staff works to make sure students are taking care of themselves on and off the field.

"We're out there pushing them hard and really emphasizing that they are getting plenty of water in their body when they get home," he said, "not just going home and not taking care of their body."

Fedora said athletic trainers are on hand to assist if a student starts to exhibit symptoms of a heat-related illness.

Regardless of why you child may be out in the heat, there are some warning signs for heat exhaustion and stroke to look out for.

The CDC states that heavy sweating accompanied by paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, fast but weak pulse, fast and shallow breathing and fainting are symptoms of heat exhaustion. If these symptoms worsen or last for more than an hour, seek medical attention.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related injury, according to the CDC, and carries risk of permanent disability or death if emergency treatment is not administered.

The warning signs for heat stroke are similar to those of heat exhaustion but are exacerbated: nausea, dizziness, unconsciousness, confusion, a throbbing headache, a rapid high pulse, a body temperature that exceeds 103 degrees and dry skin.

Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to control its temperature. As the body's temperature rises rapidly, the body's sweating mechanism fails, and the body ceases to produce sweat.

In the event of a heat related illness, get out of direct sunlight and into shade while hydrating and wait for appropriate medical assistance.

The easiest way to avoid a heat-related injury is to stay hydrated, keep cool and pace yourself while you are outside.

 
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