Heatwave: Children more prone to heat related illness, dizziness and fatigue are warning signs

On Sunday, both Delhi and Mumbai recorded season’s highest temperatures at 34.1 degree Celsuis and 39.4 degree Celsius respectively. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts that this trend is going to keep up for the next few days as well.

The IMD previously said that this is happening because of the persistence of certain weather conditions such as “strengthening of easterly winds, clear sky conditions and delay in setting time of sea breeze”.

Exposure to abnormal or prolonged amounts of heat and humidity without relief or adequate fluid intake can cause many types of heat-related illness. While heat can exaggerate pre-existing health conditions, kids are prone to suffer more. Children and teens adjust slowly than adults to changes in the environment.

Dr Vrushali Bichkar, Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital, Lullanagar, Pune shared that the heat wave is not only a cause of concern for adults but even children too. “The heat wave can invite a number of health problems such as dehydration, and one needs to be careful while outside or even indoors.”

Warning signs of heat related illness among children

Dr Bichkar shared, “Extreme heat can lead to dry and warm skin and even fainting. Extreme fluctuations in the temperature can make children fall sick very easily. It is the need of the hour to know about the red flags of the heat wave and seek timely intervention when it comes to your children.”

He listed signs of heatwave among kids that shouldn’t miss. “Having a high body temperature, headache, unconsciousness, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting and shallow breathing in the child will indicate that the child should be taken to the doctor on an immediate basis,” he added.

Severe health problems in kids

“Heatwave can cause complications like chronic respiratory conditions, asthma, and heat exhaustion. It is better to avoid any delay in treatment and ensure that the child is safe and sound,” the expert said.

He added that children should avoid venturing out of the house from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm when there is the scorching heat. “Children should wear light clothes of breathable fabrics such as cotton during summer and also wear a cap or a hat. Avoid eating junk, oily, canned, processed, and spicy food. They should opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, and drink enough water. One can also drink buttermilk, coconut water, juices, and lemon water. Do not leave the child alone in the car as it can lead to suffocation. It is better to play outdoor games in the evening only,” Dr Bichkar advised.

He concluded that if a child is having any signs and symptoms such as dizziness, fainting spells, and vomiting then consulting a doctor should be on priority.