Heat stroke symptoms – including the extra sign to look out for in children

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In the same way different viruses and bacteria can impact adults and children in different ways, so too can the sun.

For example, in adult men it causes the release of the hunger hormone which pulls a man to consume more food. However, this chemical isn’t present in women.

A similar impact applies to heat stroke and heat exhaustion, although in this case the symptom difference is not physical but psychological.

While the symptoms are the same for adults and children, the NHS say heat exhaustion can also impact how a child behaves.

The health provider said: “The symptoms of heat exhaustion are often the same in adults and children, although children may become irritable too.”

Subsequently, should a child exhibit irritability after or during a long hot day, it could be as a result of heat exhaustion as well as another cause.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion common to both adults and children include:
• Tiredness
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Feeling or being sick
• Excessive sweating and skin becoming pale and clammy
• Cramps in the arms, legs, and stomach
• Fast breathing or heartbeat
• A high temperature
• Being very thirsty
• Weakness.

Some of these symptoms, particularly dizziness or the nausea, may also be present after high alcohol consumption; as a result, there’s a danger the condition could be mistaken for alcohol exuberance.

Should someone notice someone suffering with heat exhaustion, it is essential to cool them down with water in a cool area.

How long does it take to recover from heat exhaustion?

The NHS say it takes around 30 minutes for someone to recover from heat exhaustion. If heat exhaustion goes left untreated, it can develop into heatstroke.

What’s the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion?

The primary difference is in threat to the patient. Heat stroke is much more dangerous than heat exhaustion; in worse case scenarios heat stroke can lead to permanent disability or death.

The alarm should be raised if someone with heat exhaustion:
• Still feels unwell after 30 minutes
• Has a very high temperature
• Has hot skin that’s not sweating and could look red
• Has a fast heartbeat
• Has fast breathing or shortness of breath
• Is confused and lacks coordination
• Has a seizure or fit
• Loses consciousness.

What should be done if someone experiences heat stroke?

The NHS say the person should be put “in the recovery position if they lose consciousness while you’re waiting for help”.

How can heat exhaustion and heat stroke be avoided?

As well as remaining hydrated, these two experiences can be avoided by wearing light coloured clothing, avoiding the sun between 11am and 33pm, avoiding excess alcohol intake, and exercise.

Should one be working or spending most of the day inside, the main guidance is to close the curtains and windows to keep the hot air out and any cool air in.

While all this is essential, it is guidance which has become commonplace in the UK this summer as temperatures have soared as high as the early-40s.

Why has this happened?

The main reason is climate change. A rise in CO2 emissions in recent decades has meant the planet is getting warmer and the weather is changing to reflect that.

What does this mean for health?

It means that countries like the UK could begin to experience new normal, such as hotter summers, and this means the risk of heat related conditions rises.

As well as heat stroke and heat exhaustion, the risk of skin cancer rises exponentially as people head into the sunlight without adequate protection.

Already, data has shown a growth in skin cancer diagnoses in the UK, a trend set to continue to rise almost as quickly as the temperature.

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