The heat can create dangers for children and senior citizens: what you need to know

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 17:50:30-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says children under two years old and people 65 and older are at a higher risk of getting heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Dr. Ryan Light with Greenbrier Family Medicine said, "When you're getting older you're taking certain medications that can affect how your body regulates it's temperature. Also when we look at it, you're not able to sweat as well."

Dr. Light stressed for parents to not leave their child or pet inside of a car.

"We see medical emergencies every year from that so really we should avoid that at all cost," he said. "Leaving a dog in there, they can't regulate their temperature" - even if the air conditioning is on.

Dr. Light added, "If the car stopped or died for any reason and you thought it was safe then maybe it wasn't so safe because then it would heat up very quickly."

Symptoms for heat exhaustion can range from feeling faint or dizzy to excessive sweating and muscle cramps. If that's not taken care of things can escalate to a heat stroke, but for children it can be harder to notice the signs.

"When you're under the age of two you don't have the sweat glands that are developed. Also, they can't really cool off the sweating like most of us can," said Dr. Light.

It's recommended for those to wear light clothing when spending time outdoors. Most importantly, drink plenty of water.

Care Coordinator Supervisor for the Senior Services of Southeastern VA, Ann Gause said, "Those that are in the home we ask them to keep their shades low that'll keep it cool in the home through out the day. Also if you need to go to a mall go to the mall that's a cooling area."

Mother Rachel VanVliet says she takes her son to the playground all the time and is always prepared with sunscreen and a first aid kit.

"I have a basket that's completely devoted to the time when it's hot," she mentioned.

VanVliet also has additional tricks to protect her kids from the beaming sun.

"When she (niece) gets a little bit pink that means she's starting to get a little bit sunburned so what I do is dump a little bit of the water on there just to cool it off just a little bit and reapply the sun block," continued VanVliet.

The mother also recommends other fluids for people to stay hydrated.

"A lot of people don't realize that not only does Pedialyte replenish your body but it also has proteins in it as well," she said.