Children with special health care issues are often at a higher risk of heat related illness. As parents, we are aware of our child’s reaction to excessive heat and take steps to get them to a cooler environment.
During the summer our children are in care settings different than those during the school year. These settings include; day or overnight camps, vacations, swimming, outdoor activities in summer heat, day trips with friends, and general exposure to the high temperatures when getting in and out of vehicles which have been out in the sun.
It is important to share your child’s sensitivity to heat with everyone who will be providing a care taking role this summer. Bright Futures offers information on heat related illness as it relates to children and adolescents with special health care needs.
Heat-Related Illness and Chronic Conditions and Disease
Children and adolescents with a chronic condition or disease, as well as those taking certain prescription or over-the-counter medications, are at higher risk for heat-related illness.
Those with bulimia nervosa, congenital heart disease, diabetes mellitus, gastroenteritis, obesity, or a fever may experience excessive fluid loss.
Those with anorexia nervosa, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, or mental disability may not consume enough fluids because they refuse or are unable to drink enough and/or because their bodies need additional fluids as a result of their condition.
Children and adolescents who have a chronic condition or disease, and who are thus at higher risk for developing heat-related illness, should be watched closely when they are physically active.
However, under most circumstances, they can safely participate in physical activity. In addition, physical activity can help these children and adolescents improve their general health status.