You know it’s summer in St. Louis when you walk outside in the morning, and you immediately start sweating. High temperatures outside can increase your family’s risk of heat-related conditions.

Our bodies stay cool by letting heat radiate through the skin and by sweating. On hot days, especially on days with high humidity, the body may not be able to cool itself well enough. This can lead to dangerous levels of heat. Not drinking enough liquids can also keep the body from staying cool.

There are three main types of heat-related illnesses and injuries. They range from minor (heat cramps) to very serious (heatstroke). Look for these symptoms in your child:

Heat Cramps

  • Muscle cramps in the legs, arms or stomach
  • Sweating a lot, but no fever

Heat Exhaustion

  • Cool, clammy skin
  • Headache
  • Increased sweating
  • Irritable
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Weakness and/or dizziness

Some kids with heat exhaustion might have a fever, but the fever would be lower than 104°F (40°C).


Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency. When a child experiences any of these symptoms, take him to an emergency room or call 911.

  • Confusion
  • Flushed, hot, dry skin
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Lack of sweat
  • Seizure
  • Temperature of 105°F (40.5°C) or higher

If your child has any symptoms of a heat-related condition, immediately take her to a cooler place inside or in the shade. Then call your doctor for advice.

Keep these four things in mind to prevent heat-related conditions:

  • Hydration. Drink plenty of fluids before and during any activity in hot weather. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.
  • Clothing. Wear light-colored, loose clothing.
  • Rest. Talk to your children about heat-related conditions and how to know when they are getting overheated. Teach them when it’s time to rest and drink more water.
  • Sunscreen. Follow the directions on the product label.

For more tips on what to do for heat exposure, download the free St. Louis Children’s Hospital Kid Care App.


Expert Advice