Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke in Kids

By | Emergency Room, Health Basics, Lifestyle, Safety | No Comments

As the summer months are approaching, there’s one thing most of us are dreading — the heat. Austin averages 16 days a year when temperatures reach 100 °F or more. Heatwaves with temperatures in the 100s typically occur anytime from June to September. With the monthly average high ranging from 92°F-97°F, it’s important to know the various kinds of heat illnesses, and how to prevent heat cramps, heat exhaustion & heat stroke in kids.

Heat Illness Heat Exhaustion Heat Stroke Heat Cramps

Let’s start with prevention.

How to Prevent Heat Illness:

Protect kids from heat illness by doing the following:

  • Teach children to drink plenty of fluids before and during activity in hot, sunny weather — even if they’re not thirsty.
  • Dress children in light-colored, loose clothing.
  • Always apply sunscreen when outdoors — even on cloudy days.
  • On hot and/or humid days, schedule any heavy outdoor activity before noon and after 6 p.m.
  • Teach kids to come indoors, rest, and hydrate immediately whenever they feel overheated.
  • Read about the various forms of heat illnesses, and what to do if your child has symptoms.

Heat Cramps

What are heat cramps?

They are brief, painful muscle cramps in the legs, arms, or abdomen. Heat cramps may occur during or after exercise in extreme heat.

How are Heat Cramps caused?

When you sweat during intense physical activity, your body loses salts and fluids, which causes a low level of salt. The cramp is caused by the low level of salts.

Who is at risk?

Kids are particularly at risk for heat cramps when they aren’t drinking enough fluids.

Although painful, heat cramps on their own aren’t serious. However, cramps can be the first sign of more serious heat illness, so they should be treated right away to help avoid any problems.

What should I do if my child gets heat cramps?

Put your child in a cool place to rest, and have them drink fluids. If possible, give fluids that contain salt and sugar, such as sports drinks. Gently stretching and massaging cramped muscles also may help.

Heat Exhaustion

What is heat exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion is a more severe heat illness that can occur when someone in a hot environment, and they haven’t been drinking enough fluids.

What are symptoms of heat exhaustion?

Symptoms include:

  • increased thirst
  • weakness
  • fainting
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • irritability
  • headache
  • increase sweating
  • cool, clammy skin
  • elevation of body temperature, but less than 104°F (40°C)

What should I do if a child gets heat exhaustion?

  • Bring the child to a cooler place indoors, an air-conditioned car, or shady area.
  • Remove your child’s excess clothing.
  • Encourage the child to drink cool fluids containing salt and sugar, such as sports drinks.
  • Put a cool, wet cloth or cool water on your child’s skin.
  • Call your doctor for advice.
  • If your child is too exhausted or ill to drink, treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids may be necessary.

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Heatstroke

What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke is the most severe form of heat illness. Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency.

In heatstroke, the body cannot regulate its own temperature. Body temperature can soar to 106°F (41.1°C) or even higher, leading to brain damage or even death if it isn’t quickly treated. Prompt medical treatment is required to bring the body temperature under control.

What causes heatstroke?

Factors that increase the risk for heatstroke include overdressing and extreme physical activity in hot weather with inadequate fluid intake.

Heatstroke also can happen when a child is left in a car on a hot day. When the outside temperature is 93°F (33.9°C), the temperature inside a car can reach 125°F (51.7°C).  Within 20 minutes, the internal body temperature can soar to dangerous levels.

What to do if someone has heatstroke?

Call for emergency medical help if your child has been outside in extreme temperatures, or another hot environment and shows one or more of these symptoms of heatstroke:

  • severe headache
  • weakness, dizziness
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • loss of consciousness
  • seizure
  • no sweating
  • flushed, hot, dry skin
  • temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher

While waiting for help:

  • Get your child indoors or into the shade.
  • Undress your child and sponge or douse him or her with cool water.
  • Do not give fluids unless your child is awake, alert, and acting normally.

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About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is a freestanding Emergency Room that provides excellent 24 hour care. We are located in South Austin, Pflugerville and Dripping Springs.

 

Disclaimer:

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Moreover, of you have medical questions, seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider. Never disregard professional medical advice. Don’t delay medical treatment because of something you have read on the internet. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911, or go to your nearest ER immediately.  

Measles: Symptoms, High-Risk Groups & Complications

By | Emergency Room, Health Basics, Safety | No Comments

At least five cases of measles have been reported in Texas this year. All the reported cases involved children between 12 and 21 months old. The public should be aware that measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It is important that people are aware of the symptoms, high-risk groups, and complications.

measles-symptoms-complicationsWhat are measles?

Measles are:

  • viral disease
  • caused by the rubeola virus
  • highly contagious

There is no specific treatment for measles. Therefore, prevention of measles is the best option. The best way to protect against measles is to get the measles-mumps-rubella shot (aka the MMR shot).

Moreover, the measles vaccine prevents many cases of measles around the world. In addition, if measles enters an area where people have never been exposed, the result can be disastrous.The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 2.6 million people who have not had the vaccine die of measles every year.

How are measles transmitted?

Measles can be spread to others through coughing and sneezing. Moreover, it is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.

How contagious are the measles?

If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses, or mouths, they can become infected. In addition, the measles virus can live for up to two hours in the area where the infected person coughed or sneezed.

Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.

Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before through four days after the rash appears.

What are symptoms of measles?

Symptoms of measles can appear 10-12 days after infection.

Symptoms of measles include:

  • High fever
  • “Three c’s”:
  • Cough
  • Conjunctivitis (or pink eye)
  • Coryza (or cold)
  • Small white spots on the inside of the mouth
  • Bloodshot Eyes
  • Rash on the face and upper neck, which spreads downwards
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Dry, hacking cough

Who is at risk of getting a severe case of measles?

  • malnourished young children
  • children with insufficient vitamin A
  • children with weakened immune systems (i.e. children with HIV/AIDS or other diseases)

What are complications of measles?

  • Ear infection
  • Severe respiratory infections, such as Pneumonia, Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling)
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Severe dehydration
  • Death

About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is a freestanding Emergency Room that provides excellent 24 hour care. We are located in South Austin, Pflugerville and Dripping Springs.

Disclaimer:

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Moreover, of you have medical questions, seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider. Never disregard professional medical advice. Don’t delay medical treatment because of something you have read on the internet. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911, or go to your nearest ER immediately.  

 

Symptoms of Pneumonia: When to Go to the Emergency Room

By | Emergency Room, Health Basics | No Comments

Pneumonia is a lung infection that can make it difficult to breathe due to inflammation, fluid, and pus. However, symptoms can vary, and it is important to know when to see a doctor or go to the Emergency Room. 

 

Symptoms of Pneumonia emergency rooms

WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF PNEUMONIA?

Adults who were healthy before developing pneumonia typically have moderate symptoms. However, your medical history and overall health can affect the severity of symptoms. For instance, people with chronic medical problems may be more likely to develop severe symptoms.

Here are some pneumonia symptoms to look for:

  • Extremely high fever (up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit) with quick onset
  • Severe chills and/or sweating
  • Chest pain, congestion, or tightness
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Fatigue
  • A loose, wet cough that produces thick brown, green, yellow, or white phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • **See below for more symptoms that signify a medical emergency.

If you feel you have either of these conditions, it’s important to contact your doctor to prevent the illness from getting worse.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE A DOCTOR?

See your doctor if you are having:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Persistent fever of 102 F (39 C) or higher
  • Persistent cough and if you’re coughing up pus or blood

WHO IS AT HIGH-RISK FOR HOSPITALIZATION?

Some people are at are at greater risk of needing hospitalization with pneumonia. If you have conditions like asthma, heart disease, or endocrine and kidney disorders, you should seek medical treatment immediately if they experience pneumonia symptoms. In addition, the following people are at high-risk for hospitalization, and should see a doctor.

  • People over 65 years old
  • Children younger than 2 years with signs and symptoms
  • People with an underlying health condition or weakened immune system
  • People receiving chemotherapy or  taking medication that suppresses the immune system

WHEN IS PNEUMONIA AN EMERGENCY?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regardless of which condition you fall ill to, if you feel the following symptoms, you may be facing a medical emergency. Do not wait! Immediately seek medical attention at the nearest emergency room if you experience

  • Severe chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • Gurgling sounds in the throat
  • Severe dizziness
  • Confusion or lethargy
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe fever
  • Severe headache
  • Bluish skin color
  • Bluish color of the lips or fingernails

Other articles you might be interested in:

FLU SYMPTOMS & WHEN TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM

Read more about Pneumonia from the Mayo Clinic here.

About Five Star ER

Five Star ER is a freestanding Emergency Room that provides excellent 24 hour care. We are located in South Austin, Pflugerville and Dripping Springs.

Disclaimer:

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Moreover, of you have medical questions, seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider. Never disregard professional medical advice. Don’t delay medical treatment because of something you have read on the internet. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911, or go to your nearest ER immediately.