Editor’s Note: Patti Fletcher is taking a break this Summer, on sabbatical from her post as Comox Rec Program Director.
Mandy Johns has stepped in and graciously agreed to write Patti’s column while she’s on leave. Mandy is busy this Summer filling in for Patti all over the place and we are grateful that she took the time to drop by.
I’m going to combine Mandy’s excellent advice about staying safe in the heat with some hot information about sunscreens.
Read on to get all of the details:
Summer is here, and with it comes sun soaked days at Comox Lake and Miracle Beach.
However, as temperatures go up, so does the risk of heat-related illness with children being particularly vulnerable.
To help ensure a safe, healthy Summer, make sure you know how to prevent, recognize, and treat heat-related illness.
Heat exhaustion is caused by a loss of water and salt, often as a result of exercise in hot weather. If it is not treated, it may progress to heat stroke. Symptoms include, normal or elevated body temperature, profuse sweating, pale skin, (which also may be cool and moist) fast shallow breathing with a rapid weak pulse, headache, possible nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, dizziness, weakness or fainting, heat cramps and exhaustion.
If your child has any of these symptoms, move him to a shady or air-conditioned area and have him lie comfortably. Remove extra clothing and sports equipment, if any. Cool him with cold water, fans, or cold towels.
If he is not nauseated or vomiting, have him drink chilled water (not ice cold), juice, or a sports drink and His/her condition should improve quickly. If your kiddos does not seem better after an hour, or if symptoms are severe including a child seeming confused or disoriented or is behaving oddly, head straight for the doctor.
Heat stroke is a dangerous illness that can lead to organ damage or death and happens when a child’s body creates more heat than it can release.
As a child’s core body temperature increases rapidly, to 40°C or higher, the main signs of heat stroke are increase in core body temperature, which may take the form of altered consciousness, seizures, confusion, emotional instability, or irrational behaviour. Other possible signs of heat stroke include, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, headache, dizziness or weakness, hot and wet or dry skin, increased heart rate and rapid breathing.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency.
Call 911/emergency medical services right away. Remove the child’s clothing and any sports equipment. Begin cooling the child by any means available, including immersing him in cold water, spraying him with cold water, fans, or ice bags. Record your child’s body temperature, but do not give anything to drink.
If emergency services do not arrive quickly, call again for instructions.
To stay cool this Summer in the heat, try limiting those activities that involve strenuous exercise.
How about a walk through MacDonald Wood or take a dip at Airforce Beach and then retire to the shade and build a sandcastle.
And remember, drink water, juice or sport drinks, wear a hat, light coloured, loose clothing and keep applying that sunblock.
With that in mind, the Environmental Working Group has just released new information regarding the safety and power of sun blocks. Recent research suggests that many sunblocks contain hazardous chemicals that are particularly dangerous for kiddos.
EWG has done extensive testing of sunscreens and now you can see how the ones you most often use rank. You can also check out the TOP 10 SUNSCREENS recommended by EWG – which makes me want to run right out and grab the Badger brand everyone has been talking so much about and wish I could find California Baby sunscreen locally as we used and loved it in San Francisco years ago.
Check out the database HERE.