Thankfully her body started to cool pretty quickly. Remember that she had vomited the Motrin. It wouldn't occur to me until the next day that what we were dealing with was heat exhaustion. I do know that if she didn't start cooling down soon, we were headed to the emergency room. But her panting stopped around one a.m. and she finally fell into comfortable sleep around three a.m. The next morning she was grumpy and sluggish but in much better spirits and more like her normal self. Thankfully out of the woods. But the idea that heat exhaustion didn't occur to me until after the fact, surprised me. I bit the big one on that. Total fail. I did some Googling and reading up on it as soon as we arrived home. And right there in black and white was an explanation of what we had just gone through. I can promise you I will never leave that off the mystery illness checklist ever again.
So instead of kicking myself in the pants about it, I thought I'd share the information. There's a new heat wave rolling over the country soon and there are sure to be more in August. So now is as good a time as any to inform yourself about the symptoms and treatment of heat exhaustion in kids.
Stay cool, everyone! I hope you are enjoying an amazing summer with your favorite people. And keep those babies/kids/animals/imaginary friends and YOU hydrated! You know what they say about an ounce of prevention...
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion**
*Dehydration: be sure your baby is drinking plenty of fluids! For Plum, she was way to busy to nurse when we were out and about. I pushed fluids all day and she seemed to be doing well. But her normal intake of breast milk had greatly diminished. If your baby is still in diapers be sure to keep a close eye on how many pee diapers they have in a 24 hour period. They should have several good and wet diapers a day. For older children, monitor their bathroom breaks to watch for signs of dehydration (darker yellow or strong smelling urine)
*Clammy skin: This is the body responding to excessive heat and working in overdrive to cool down.
*Headache: A sign of dehydration
*Nausea and/or vomiting
*Hyperventilation (rapid breathing): This one right here should have tipped me off about Plum. She has had fevers before but she has never panted.
**the more severe the symptoms the more likely it is an emergency situation. When in doubt, call your doctor or take your child to an urgent care facility.
What to Do
*Bring your child indoors or into the shade
*Loosen or remove clothing
*Encourage your child to eat and drink
*Give your child a bath in cool (not cold) water
* Call you doctor for further advice if your child is unable to eat or drink or cool down. IV fluids may be needed.
If left untreated, heat exhaustion can escalate to heat stroke which is a life threatening emergency. To read about heat stroke, what to look for and what to do, head over here.