Friday, July 11, 2014

Beating the heat

Radio Commentary

In the excitement of a good pickup basketball game or even a leisurely game of tag, children might not notice the temperature rising.

But as the day progresses, their bodies react to the heat, and if children aren’t careful, they could come down with heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

The body’s natural control mechanisms normally adjust to the heat. But those systems could fail if exposed to high temperatures for prolonged periods.

Here are some tips for beating the heat and staying cool:

  • Limit most exercise or at least the most strenuous exercise to the coolest part of the day — early morning or late afternoon.

  • Have children wear clothing that’s loose, lightweight and light-colored. Choose clothing that draws perspiration away from the skin to keep the body cooler — cotton T-shirts and shorts, for example.

  • Make sure children drink plenty of water–don’t wait until they say they’re thirsty to take a drink. The thirst mechanism kicks in only after a body is too depleted. If children are exercising heavily in hot weather, aim for two to four glasses every hour.

  • Stay away from liquids that contain caffeine or lots of sugar — these actually cause the body to lose more fluid. Also, remember that a drink that is too cold might cause stomach cramps.

  • Make sure children periodically take a break in a shady area to cool down.

These are all smart, effective practices for beating the heat.