With schools closed and children at home for the long summer break, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) urged parents and caregivers to ensure children are not exposed to excessive heat and humidity to protect them from heat-related illnesses which are more common during the summer months.

Experts at HMC warn parents to exercise caution and refrain from exposing children to high temperature or humidity if they choose to do any outdoor activities with them.

Director of Hamad Trauma Center's Hamad Injury Protection Program (HIPP), Dr. Rafael Consunji said, "Children are at an increased risk of developing heat-related illness if exposed to high temperatures because they don't adjust to changes in environmental conditions as quickly as most healthy adults do. Therefore, it is very important for parents or caregivers to ensure children's outdoor play time is when temperature and humidity are low, or they can let children play in airconditioned or shaded area."

He stated further the need for parents to be vigilant and monitor their children while taking them outdoors, saying that hot weather can be a danger for everyone, but for children, the dangers are magnified. He added that a child's temperature can rise five times faster than an adult's temperature, especially on hot days.

Common signs and symptoms of heat stress and heat-related illnesses include: an elevated body temperature, cool/clammy skin, irritability, increased thirst/sweating, headache, feeling faint, dizzy or weak. If unrecognized or neglected, these signs and symptoms can lead to more severe heat exhaustion and stroke.

HMC advised parents and caregivers to follow some heat prevention precautions such as ensuring the children wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing, using a timer to limit their time under the direct heat to 30 minutes or less and drink cold fluids every 15 minutes while outside.
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