Who Is Most At Risk?
Protecting babies during hot weather
Infants under six months old and babies born prematurely, are particularly at risk for heat-related problems. Warning signs that your baby is overheating include loss of appetite and skin hot to the touch. Follow these tips during hot weather, especially if you don't have air-conditioning or your power is out and can't get to an air-conditioned place:
- Dress baby appropriately for hot weather in lightweight clothing (a diaper and t-shirt).
- Give baby frequent baths in lukewarm water. Avoid using cold water because it can make a baby shiver and will raise their temperatures.
- Keep baby hydrated by making sure the baby drinks a regular amount of fluids, or, if breastfeeding, by offering breastfeeding at regular intervals.
- Use fans to create air movement, but don't have the fan blow directly on baby.
- If outside, keep baby in the shade. A hat on baby is helpful when moving from shade to sun and back to shade.
School age children
- Make sure your children drink plenty of water and other non-sweetened fluids (about 8 ounces) every hour during the heat of the day.
- Have them stay in the shade and wear sunscreen if moving about in the sun
- During heat waves, have them do inside/quiet activities.
Monitor Those at High Risk for Heat-Related Problems
The following groups are at greater risk of heat problems:
- Infants and children up to four years
- People 65 years of age or older
- Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
- They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that upsets normal body responses to heat.
- They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.
- People who are overweight
- People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness
- People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.