Children and heat: Why they're more susceptible to hot temps and how to get them ready

Children are more susceptible to the hot temperatures we've seen this week and they're also more likely than adults to be outside in the heat at the pool or at camps.

A doctor with Pediatric Associates affiliated with Saint Luke's Health Systems says that's because children have fewer sweat glands, so they don't sweat as much.

Sweating is our body's natural mechanism to cool itself, but it gets harder to do, the hotter it gets.

"That doesn't work once the humidity gets above 75 percent because that water no longer evaporates, no longer cools your body as it should so the humidity plays a huge factor in heat stress on children," said Dr. Kevin Burgert, a pediatrician with Pediatric Associates.

Burgert says the best thing a parent can do is make their children drink water, not just when they're in the heat, but before they ever step foot outside.

If a child has a sports camp outside next week, the best advice he can give is for parents to start hydrating those children three to four days before they go outside.

Kids should also wear light-colored clothing that reflects the sun.

"In heat exhaustion, you're overheating, despite your body trying to stay at 98.6 degrees, so if your child is even 99, 100, 101, because of the heat, they're in that zone of heat exhaustion," Burgert explained. "If you start getting above 104, now you're in the realm of what we call heat stroke  which is much more significant, much more of a problem  and requires immediate hospital attention."

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