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Protecting Your Child From Dehydration and Heat Illness

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    Get them acclimatized before summer practice. "If you're going to send your kid off to tennis camp, they shouldn't be sitting around doing nothing in May and then going out to play tennis eight hours a day in June," says Hergenroeder. "They should be outdoors jogging, riding a bike, and otherwise slowly building up their fitness and ability to handle the heat." The fitter children are, the sooner their bodies will start to sweat after beginning to exercise -- and that's a good thing!

    Know that dehydration is cumulative. If your child is 1% or 2% dehydrated on Monday and doesn't drink enough fluids that night, then gets 1% or 2% dehydrated again on Tuesday, that means your child is 3% or 4% dehydrated at the end of the day. "They may be gradually developing a problem, but it won't show up for several days," says Hergenroeder. "You should always monitor your child's hydration." One way to do this: weigh your child before and after practice. If his weight drops, he's not drinking enough during his workout.

    A simple rule of thumb: if your child's urine is dark in color, rather than clear or light yellow, he or she may be becoming dehydrated.

    4. If my child develops heat illness, what can I do to treat it?

    The first thing you should do with any heat illness is get the child out of the sun into a cool, comfortable place. Have the child start drinking plenty of cool fluids. The child should also take off any excess layers of clothing or bulky equipment. You can put cool, wet cloths on overheated skin. In cases of heat cramps, gentle stretches to the affected muscle should relieve the pain.

    Kids with heat exhaustion should be treated in the same way but should not be allowed back on the field the same day. Monitor your child even more carefully, Hergenroeder says. If your child doesn't improve, or can't take fluids, see a doctor.

    Heat stroke is always an emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

    5. Are some children more prone to dehydration or heat illness than others?

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